EMERGENCY loan signing Ian McLoughlin says he didn’t even know the names of his teammates when he made his Newport County AFC debut last week, writes Andrew Penman.
The MK Dons goalkeeper, on loan at Rodney Parade until April 9, conceded four goals in his first start for the Exiles at Morecambe after Tom Naylor’s red card.
He was much happier following Sunday’s 1-1 home draw with Exeter City, however, and says the thrashing at Morecambe acted as a reality check for the squad.
“We were happy with a point against Exeter,” said McLoughlin. “Coming back from 1-0 down we showed a bit of grit and determination and we hadn’t shown enough of that at Morecambe.
“That game was a kick up the backside for the lads. We need to think about relegation before we start thinking about the play-offs, which is the main objective.
“A few more wins and we should be alright and then we can kick on and look towards the play-offs.
“But I don’t think we turned up that night and it was tough for me coming in on loan the day before I didn’t really know the lads.
“I didn’t really know who wanted the ball and who just wants to defend but we’ve bonded a bit now; I know their names now so that helps!”
The former Irish under-21 international is not sure how long he’ll remain at the club but he will be between the sticks again tonight against Dagenham & Redbridge as regular County stoppers Jamie Stephens and Lenny Pidgeley are not yet ready to return.
Stephens has suffered a setback in his recovery from a thigh strain and may now require an operation.
And Exiles’ number one Lenny Pidgeley (ankle) is still a week or two away from returning to full fitness.
“I don’t know how long I’ll be here,” said McLoughlin. “I’m here because they need me to be here and I need to play games and I’m enjoying it because there are plenty of games coming quickly.
“I’m aiming to help the team as much as I can and if the gaffer wants me to be here longer then great. If not then I’ll go back to MK Dons and fight for my place there.”