Wolves head coach Kenny Jackett today hailed his young guns again after they came up trumps against Walsall.
Jackett handed full debuts to Aaron McCarey, Jack Price and Liam McAlinden in last night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy penalty shoot-out win.
He made six changes to Saturday’s 3-1 win at Port Vale, staying within competition rules due to injuries and international call-ups.
Jackett’s faith was rewarded as McAlinden scored the fifth-minute opener before McCarey saved two penalties in the shoot-out which Wolves won 4-2 after the first-round tie ended 2-2.
“We made six changes from Saturday and at times it showed defensively where we were disjointed,” said Jackett.
“But we did the job and I was very pleased to get through with some excellent penalties and two great saves from Aaron.
“Big credit to Aaron – it was his first appearance for us and as a young goalkeeper he was outstanding.
“He has looked very capable in training and I was pleased to see him in a competitive fixture. We did play good football for long spells but just failed to nail it at the end.”
Jackett was delighted to give more youngsters game time. “It’s a very important thing to bring other players in,” he said.
“We had four players away on international duty and a further two injured (Kevin Doyle and Zeli Ismail). But it gave opportunities for McCarey, Price and McAlinden. There were some interesting performances.
“It’s always a natural progression for younger players to play in the first team and games like this are perfect when other players are away.”
Jackett believes Wolves need to make more use of Cannock-born striker McAlinden’s excellent movement. “He does get chances and that’s a good habit to have as a centre-forward,” he said.
“He also makes good runs and I don’t think we used him as much as we could.”
Doyle (thigh) and Ismail, who has a minor leg injury, are expected to be fit for the visit of Swindon a week on Saturday.
George Elokobi went off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury last night.