Stephen McLaughlin was a constant threat for Blues during the 2017/18 season, as he chipped in with goals and more importantly assists.
Here is McLaughlin’s season in numbers.
|League One apps||45|
|League One starts||35|
|Minutes played (league)||3107|
|Shots on target||22|
|Left foot goals||3|
|Right foot goals||1|
|Inside of the box goals||4|
|Goals outside of the box||2|
|Goals from set-pieces||1|
The Irishman’s season began with a stutter with his first league start delayed until September against Rochdale.
McLaughlin showed in the previous Checkatrade Trophy game away to Gillingham, who he likes coming up against, his goalscoring instinct with a back-post finish to equalise in a 2-1 defeat. And that was a clear message to the manager.
Although not following up his start against Rochdale with another away to Charlton a week later, he did come off the bench to set up John White from a corner.
It was following the game at the Valley that McLaughlin’s season really kicked off.
He started the next six league games and bagged his first league goal of the season coming in that stretch of games, away to Fleetwood.
The winger’s next goal was a screamer; and it was also voted Goal of the Season. He latched onto Marc-Antoine Fortune’s pass from deep and sent a stinging shot into the top corner, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance whatsoever.
There were important assists galore for one of the league’s most productive players, including away to Scunthorpe and at home to Shrewsbury, but the results were far from the desired for the team.
McLaughlin’s continued contribution earned him the January DeVines Player of the month award as he played vital parts in four goals in what was an altogether disappointing month for Blues.
When Chris Powell took over as manager McLaughlin was an almost ever-present and he ended the season with three goals from the 24 March onwards.
His ability to play from either flank is an important weapon in Blues’ attack and will be again next season.