Wolves striker Liam McAlinden was today set a challenge as he began a loan spell at League One rivals Shrewsbury Town.
The 20-year-old has joined Graham Turner’s side for three months and is set for a possible debut at home to Gillingham tomorrow.
McAlinden is one of the most highly-rated in his age group at Molineux and Wolves head coach Kenny Jackett is hoping the Cannock-born forward can take his opportunity in the same way Matt Doherty and Danny Batth have.
Both impressed in loan spells at Bury and Sheffield Wednesday respectively before nailing down regular first-team places at Wolves.
“We’re looking for Liam to play well at Shrewsbury and develop as a really good player for Wolves,” said Jackett.
“Danny benefitted and Matt Doherty had a really good spell at Bury and he’s been excellent for us this season. There are many cases for loan spells being very constructive for them to make it at their parent club, which is the main reason they’re here.
“Liam’s not had many minutes but he’s got terrific potential and shows excellent quality. And with some physical development and experience, we feel he can be a very good player.
“He’s got a terrific frame, and if that fills out, experience of league football will really bring him on.”
Jackett feels a loan move is ideal for McAlinden with a better chance of first-team football at the Greenhous Meadow.
“Two out of three of Leigh Griffiths, Kevin Doyle and Bjorn Sigurdarson have been starting with the other coming off the bench,” he said.
“Liam is probably with Jake Cassidy behind those. He’s made a couple of appearances in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and it will be fantastic if he can play.”
Former Molineux boss Turner has been a regular at Wolves Under-21s home games this season and has asked several times about loaning McAlinden.
“I’ve watched Liam over the last 18 months and he’s really developed over that time,” said Turner.
“We’ve been asking about him since the start of the season and it’s good to have him on board.”
McAlinden said: “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to because it’s been on the cards for a while now. I’ve played one or two games for Wolves this season but hopefully I can get more games here. I’m hoping to impress. It’s the same league so the experience will help.”