League Two side's boss admits to tracking McLaughlin for six months

Nottingham Forest's Stephen McLaughlin had been a long-term target of Southend United.

Southend United manager Phil Brown has told the Echo that he had been trying to sign Nottingham Forest midfielder Stephen McLaughlin for six months. 

Southend signed McLaughlin on loan until the end of the season yesterday and it has been a transfer they have been working on for some time. 

McLaughlin had attracted Brown's attention back in October, but no deal had been possible until Dougie Freedman decided to allow the 24-year-old to leave on a temporary move yesterday.

“I must have had my eye on Stephen for about six months now so I’m very pleased to have finally signed him,” he said. 

“I first saw him in a behind closed doors game between Colchester United and Nottingham Forest and was impressed by his work-rate. He was in the face of the opposition and I’ve kept tabs on him ever since."

McLaughlin will be hoping to prove Brown was right to be so desperate to sign him, by helping Southend to promotion this season.

The Shrimpers are currently in a fight for the play-offs and the hope will be that McLaughlin will add the quality they need to see them over the line. 

Once this season ends, McLaughlin's future is in doubt, so this move could be a chance for the Irish midfielder to put himself in the shop window.

The winger has struggled to make the grade at Forest, but he did show some signs of quality at Notts County earlier in the campaign, on a previous loan spell, and he will be hoping to have a similar impact at Roots Hall. 

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