Mansfield Town star Stephen McLaughlin craving a second taste of Wembley play-off glory

Stephen McLaughlin has already had a taste of success at Wembley Stadium – and now he is craving it again with Mansfield Town.

Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 1:39 pm

The exciting left back, who picked up four player of the year awards last week, helped Southend United into League One at the famous stadium in 2015 and now can't wait for tomorrow night’s League Two play-off semi-final second leg at Northampton Town with Stags starting the game 2-1 up from the first leg.

“We're looking forward to it. It's a chance to get to Wembley,” he said.

“I have played there and it's a good day – the build-up the day before and going out and walking on the pitch. These are exciting times.

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Mansfield Town defender Stephen McLaughlin rallies the team.

“Not many people get to do it in their careers. So we've just got to embrace it and just play your best if you get there.

“But we still have a big game to play on Wednesday and anything can happen in football. We just have to take it game by game and get the job done.

“You have to play the game and not the occasion as they say. You have to take the emotion out of it and play your best football. If everyone does that I think we will be successful on Wednesday.”

On Saturday's first leg he said: “We had a good first half and scored two good goals and should have had more.

“But for a first leg it's a good result. The atmosphere was unbelievable from start to finish.

“We know we didn't play our best football or anywhere near our capability. Hopefully we will on Wednesday.

“Some teams could have lost that 3-2 or something, but we dug it out and did what we needed to do.”

He added: “Northampton know they've got to win the game. You saw on Saturday they went long and they're going to do that again. They are going to get numbers forward and it's just about dealing with it and playing the game out.

“Every game you play away from home the first 15 minutes is tough. It's nothing new to us. We know what they are like and we just have to match it and play our own football.

“They have nothing to lose and will come at us, but we will be more than ready for it.”

Stags will be backed by another huge sold-out away following at Sixfields and McLaughlin said: “Whenever they come in their numbers it's brilliant. It has been all season to be fair.

“Some grounds we have gone to, you'd swear we were the home team the fans have been unbelievable, the drum banging and the singing for 90 minutes, it's great.

“Speaking to fans before and after games, I know this means a lot to them.

“They are starting to pick up in their numbers and can really see positives for the club and are really getting behind it.

“It has been an unbelievable season. We've broken records along the way.

“A few things haven't gone our way which was disappointing, but it has been a remarkable season. It has been a special season.”