Scotland goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin was superb as Jack Ross’s Sunderland reached the League One play-off final by beating Pompey.

Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips has hailed Black Cats goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin after he kept two clean sheets during the League One play-off semi-final triumph over Portsmouth, while speaking to the Chronicle.

Jack Ross’s side are now potentially just 90 minutes away from an immediate return to the Championship after beating Pompey over two legs. Chris Maguire’s stunning volley at the Stadium of Light on Saturday gave Sunderland a lead they would not relinquish during Thursday’s goalless draw at Fratton Park.

Maguire might hog all the headlines but McLaughlin was the star man on the South Coast, making superb saves to deny both Gareth Evans and James Vaughan.

And Phillips, who starred for Sunderland during their Premier League heyday, has paid tribute to the Scotland international after the game.

“Tactically he was in the right place at the right time. He took knocks and his positional play was excellent. He has been outstanding all season and he was again tonight,” said the former England striker.

31-year-old McLaughlin has now kept 15 clean sheets since moving to the Stadium of Light from Hearts on a free transfer last summer, proving to be a substantial upgrade on the likes of Lee Camp, Robbin Ruiter and Jason Steele.

Sunderland will be hoping he is on top form again when they play either Charlton or Doncaster at Wembley.

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