Liam McAlinden was today told he is ready for Wolves first team following his loan spell at Shrewsbury.
The 20-year-old striker has been recalled early after impressing with Graham Turner’s side, scoring three goals in five starts plus a further four substitutes appearances.
The Cannock-born attacker rejoined his team-mates for training yesterday and head coach Kenny Jackett believes McAlinden is ready to challenge for a place up front as he looks to get more from Wolves’ misfiring attack.
“I do think he’s come back to us on a high to earn a place at Wolves and use that experience he’s gained positively,” said Jackett.
“If suddenly we have an opening, I wouldn’t hesitate to put him in.
“He’s got three goals and it’s an area where our forwards need the competition.
“There’s no reason why he can’t – he certainly has the ability to convert a chance when he gets one.
“That’s the thing with him. If the team can make opportunities with him in it, I think he’s got a good chance of converting a good percentage of those that come his way.”
Jackett added: “He’s needed first-team football – he’s 20 and hasn’t played much, so to be involved in quite a lot of games in a short space of time is good for his confidence.
“He trained with us yesterday but it all depends on how he does when he’s on the pitch.
“But from really Kevin Doyle and Leigh Griffiths being selected the most, after that it would be Bjorn Sigurdarson.
“He’s been behind those but now we have a high amount of games in a short period of time.”
Former Wolves boss Turner believes McAlinden would challenge for a place at Molineux when he returned and Jackett feels the youngster has benefitted hugely from his time at Shrewsbury.
“I felt it’s been a good experience for him,” he said.
“It’s a positive thing to go out on loan, get some games and then come back with a fresh enthusiasm and a fresh confidence.
“After the MK Dons game, we have a very busy period.
“We want to be as strong as we possibly can and have every option available.
“It’s with that period in mind we’ve brought him back.”
Wolves send an Under-21s squad to Stourbridge tonight in the Birmingham Senior Cup (7.30pm).Subscribe to our Newsletter