Shane McLoughlin has happy memories of this time last year after his first goal for Wimbledon sparked a push towards survival and he’s aiming for something similar this time around.
The goals haven’t flowed for the Irishman since his landmark strike in a 2-0 win against Doncaster on 9 March 2019, but Shane hit the mark against Fleetwood recently and he’s steadily adapting to playing as a full-back.
“It’s quite a while ago now and I hadn’t really managed too many in between! Thankfully, I got off the mark for the season a few weeks ago. The game against Doncaster last year started a good week for us as we got the three wins. It brought us closer to everyone else. I had six friends watching me that day and they were standing behind the goal. That was pretty special to be honest. You are kind of just waiting for that moment, so that you can just enjoy it. You can sit back and think 'I’ve got that forever now’. I am enjoying every second of it here. There are ups and downs, but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.
“It’s a new position for me, so I’m getting to grips with where I’m supposed to be, positionally, throughout the game. I think it’s coming along, slowly but surely I’ve been building up. Hopefully, I can get a few more goals before the end of the season.
“I had played full-back in Under-21 games before, but it’s completely different to playing it in League One. We are fighting for our lives. I’ve enjoyed it and I felt like I could do a job there. I feel like that I’ve done okay at stages. I’ve had some tough periods, but I think I’ve come through that, and I’m playing well.”
Shane added that he’s enjoyed interacting with Wimbledon supporters on match days and his uncle has been a Dons fan for many years.
“My aunty and uncle are at every home game and I’ve had cousins at games as well. It is nice that my uncle is a Wimbledon fan. It feels like I’ve been here a lot longer than a year to be honest. It’s a great group of lads here and I feel very comfortable, I am enjoying it. It feels unique here, I haven’t really heard about it at other clubs, being that integrated with the fans. It’s been enjoyable, being up there with Ivor (at the Man of the Match presentation) and having a bit of banter with the fans.
“Everyone looks back on last year and when we went on that run we dragged teams down with us. Hopefully, this year we can get on a run again, bring a few more teams into it, and stay away from that drop zone.”