Striker McLaughlin is loving the Bannside of life as he racks up the goals

James McLaughlin displays fancy footwork to evade his Dungannon Marker during Saturday's 3-0 win at Stangmore Park. wk3727mb �coleraineanddistrictleague
James McLaughlin displays fancy footwork to evade his Dungannon Marker during Saturday's 3-0 win at Stangmore Park. wk3727mb �coleraineanddistrictleague

James McLaughlin says he’s loving life back in the top flight with Coleraine as he continues to rack up the goals at The Showgrounds.

The Ballymoney man has four goals in only a handful of games to date in a Coleraine shirt.

He came of the bench last Friday night to help the Bannsiders get back on level terms against Ballinamallard United.

And he followed that up with a Man of the Match performance as Oran Kearney’s men saw off Ballyclare Comrades in the League Cup in midweek.

That was his first start of the season and he is hoping to build on it.

“It has been an unbelievable start for me,” he told Times Sport.

“To get the goal against the Glens on the opening day was really good, but to follow that up with another three goals is a fantastic feeling.

“I’m loving my football here. No disrespect to the lower leagues it’s great to be playing at such a high standard.

“It’s good to get a few goals under my belt so far.

“I put a few thoughts into Oran’s head coming off the bench to score against Ballinamallard. All I can do is make the manager make a decision, and I’m glad he made the decision to start me tonight.

“There’s a lot of competition in the squad this season, especially up front, so you have to take your chance when it comes along.

“Getting goals also breeds confidence.”

Kearney has always known about McLaughlin’s goal scoring prowess, and he continues to work the striker hard, much to McLaughlin’s pleasure.

“The boss is a hard task master,” he laughed.

“But that’s some thing you need. There’s no point playing well for a few games and then stop working hard and drop away in performances and results.

“We know we have to keep working hard and keep producing.

“It’s very pleasing to hear the manager talk about about you in a positive way, and I will do what I can to pay him back.

“There’s always a great buzz about the changing room, the older guys mixed in with the young guys make it a great mix.

“There’s a great spirit about the place and long may it continue.”

McLaughlin’s two goals against Ballyclare showed just what he is about.

But he did regret not taking the chance to grab a hat-trick after he stepped up to take a penalty in the second half.

“I’m really disappointed not to be coming away with the match ball though,” he said.

“I tried to be too precise and hit the ball too hard.

“To score three would have been really good and it would have capped off a great night, but two and a win and a place in the next round will do for me.

“It could have been a very difficult game for us if we hadn’t shown Ballyclare the respect they deserved.

“We knew we had to be on top of our game from the off and thankfully we did that.

“I didn’t really had time to think about it, but it was probably better that way.

“The ball came out to me and I just saw the empty net and thankfully I hit the target.”