Conor McLaughlin is thankful to Millwall for giving him another shot at Championship football after breaking his leg as a 19-year-old.

The Northern Ireland defender suffered the devastating injury playing for Preston in February 2011.

The Lilywhites were relegated from England’s second tier and McLaughlin made his return six months later before moving to Fleetwood in 2012.

And his consistent form earned him a move to Millwall last summer. He has made 25 appearances for the Lions so far.

McLaughlin, 26, told News Shopper: “I played eight or nine games for Preston in the Championship and broke my leg. I was out for six or seven months.

“I got into the team and started playing Championship football and broke my leg and was out for the rest of that season.

“That’s when they got relegated. I made my comeback in League One.

“Ever since then I’ve wanted to get back to the Championship. I’m thankful to Millwall for giving me that chance.

“It was a battle, but I was going to come back. It took a while to get over it. It took me the best part of 18 months to fully recover from it.

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“I wasn't feeling anything anymore. Mentally, it took a hit confidence-wise. I’m just glad I did come back from it.”

McLaughlin started the current campaign as Millwall’s first-choice right-back.

But a fifth yellow card offence against Fulham in November gave youngster Mahlon Romeo the chance to impress.

And Romeo scored in his first league start of the season in the 3-1 win over Sheffield United.

Since then, McLaughlin has been in and out of the team.

He said: “Obviously you want to be playing every game but Mahlon has come in and done really well when he's played.

“I just have to make sure I up my game and it’s the same for the whole squad. We’ve got a really strong squad, especially with the January additions.

“So competition for places is only going to be good for the team.”