McLaughlin excited at lending experience to Black Cats project

Jon McLaughlin in action for Burton.
Jon McLaughlin in action for Burton.

Jon McLaughlin says putting Sunderland back where it belongs is a ‘great project’ to be part of.

The 30-year-old goalkeeper has signed a two-year deal on Wearside after a stellar season with Hearts.

McLaughlin was named in the SPFL Premiership team of the season and also has a number of Football League promotions on his CV.

And the Scotland international hopes the Black Cats can this seaosn begin to emulate Wolves’ return to the top tier.

He said: “It’s an absolutely massive club.

“It has had its hard times recently but there’s been other clubs who have had their falls but, with the example of Wolves, have got back where they belong.

“This is a club that stood out for me as well, that they’re getting the right people in and are looking to bounce back straight away.

“It was a great project to be part of.”

McLaughlin was a free agent after his one-year deal at Hearts expired, and had a number of offers, including from Azerbaijani side Qarabag, who competed in the Champions League last season.

However, McLaughlin says the lure of Sunderland was too good to turn down, especially after manager Jack Ross had signalled his intentions early that he was interested in bringing him to Wearside.

McLaughlin added: “The gaffer and the club had been in contact with my agent at a fairly early stage, showing their interest and seeing what the availability might be.

“Over the summer, while we were on holiday, it started to get a more serious then in the last few days it ramped up quite quickly.

“This is the one that we wanted to get done.”

McLaughlin watched on with interest as St Mirren won the Scottish Championship under Ross last season, and hopes his experience at League One level can help the new manager.

The shot-stopper has played in England with Bradford City and Burton Albion and is now looking forward to linking up with Ross.

He said: “There was a lot of talk in Scotland while I was there about what he’d done, what he’d managed to achieve there with this group. That’s why this club was so keen to get him in.

“Hopefully I can replicate what I did up there last season as well.

“I’m very happy to be working with someone so highly-rated.

“Hopefully I can bring that experience at this level to this group, I know what it takes to be successful. You need people who’ve been there before and done it, there’s different challenges at every level.”

McLaughlin sprung to prominence in a struggling Hearts team last season, keeping a club record eight consecutive clean sheets and only conceding 32 goals.

His form earned him a call-up to the Scotland nside where new boss Alex McLeish handed him his international debut against Mexico last month.