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22 December 2014

Albion keeper enjoying good Brewers form

Burton Albion goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin was more than satisfied with another away point and a clean sheet after a hard fought goalless stalemate with last season's play-off rivals Southend United.

"I think we are happy with that in the end. It is always nice to get three points, especially away from home." the Brewers stopper said. "We know that coming to a place like this, it is a difficult place to come and they can quite easily turn good teams over themselves so it is important to come to here and make sure that you don't get beaten. In the end we are happy to come away with a clean sheet, which is always a positive and a point which could turn out to be very important."

Southend are one of a number of sides looking for promotion this season and despite last week's 4-1 reversal at leaders Wycombe they are one of the form sides in the division with a strong and physical side put together by boss Phil Brown making it an especially good point in McLaughlin's eyes.

"They are a good team and they have a lot of big lads in there. A physical side who know how to use that physical side of their game well. It was a test for us but the back four have stuck well to their task and as a whole team we knew we had a plan of how to stop them as well as trying to break them down and we managed to do the defensive side of things well which is really pleasing."

McLaughlin is benefitting from playing behind a consistent back four with very few changes over the last few weeks. Something which the former Bradford man admits is crucial in getting a good understanding within the defensive unit and creating a platform for success.

"It is always important to make sure that you haven't got players chopping and changing." said Jon, "Players can get settled in their position and start to really get to know each other, build that trust with one another and I think we are starting to get that now. People know when to play back to me, when to play safe forwards or get rid of the ball and we are starting to play well with each other. We are looking quite a solid team which is positive but we have got to keep working all the time to try and get as many clean sheets as possible. Hopefully that means that more often than not we will be scoring at the other end and picking up three points."

McLaughlin briefly dropped out of the side after the departure of former boss Gary Rowett but Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink restored the summer signing between the sticks following Dean Lyness' unfortunate injury and Jon hasnt looked back since.

"I am pleased with how things are going since the new gaffer has come in" Jon continued, "It has been really positive. I have really enjoyed the way that he wants us to play. He has got a slightly different ethos in that he wants the defence to play a little bit higher, squeeze and press more forward that high line which allows me to play a big higher and come for crosses, to deal with the ball and be more positive which is nice as a goalkeeper. Hopefully that is paying dividends at the minute and I am enjoying the football at the minute."

McLaughlin has also had to get used to new goalkeeping coach in recent weeks following the appointment of Gavin Ward as the permanent replacement for Kevin Poole and Jon says he has slotted seamlessly into the squad.

"He has come in and is working well with us and has fitted well into the group. It can be difficult when there has been such a high turnover of staff - we have had all new staff coming in. He has worked really well with myself and Remi. That has been another positive which is helping us to progress."

Manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has been at the club for just over a month now and Albion's current number one is happy with the way things have progressed following the transition from one management team to another.

"There is a real good atmosphere around the place. I think there was when he came in because he inherited a team that were doing well. We werent at the wrong end of the table. We are up there and it has been a continuation of that. The gaffer has come in and he has added to what was already there. It is a really positive place to be at the moment which is good for us to try and crack on over Christmas and the New Year."

Albion go into the Christmas period within touching distance of the top of the table and Jon feels that the signs are good for the second half of the season with Albion getting into some good habits and having been part of a promotion winning squad with Bradford two seasons ago he knows what it takes to be successful in this division.

"We have played a couple more games that the teams around us but we have got some good strong points on the board. We are looking good in games and we are a team that is difficult to break down and all of those things we are still learning all about the ways that the manager wants us to play. It is going to take a little bit of time for the lads to really grasp that and for it to really feel natural but I think we are already doing well and once everything really starts to click then you will see us really start to dominate games."

"The hallmark of good teams is their ruthless nature throughout the season. Getting vital points, winning ugly or sometimes coming to difficult places and grinding out points, making yourself a solid team and making sure you don't get beat, sometimes nicking a winner but you end up making sure that those points are vital over the course of the season and I think that is the case."

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