Wolves striker Liam McAlinden is ready to challenge for a first-team place, according to manager Kenny Jackett, after being recalled from his loan at Shrewsbury Town.
The 20-year-old impressed both Shrews manager Graham Turner and Jackett after scoring three goals in five starts and four substitute appearances since his move to the Shropshire side in October.
Jackett told the Express and Star: “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.
“If suddenly we have an opening, I wouldn't hesitate to put him in.”
Academy graduate McAlinden made his Wolves first-team debut at Molineux as a substitute against Burnley at the end of last year’s ill-fated season and scored his first goal in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy against Walsall in September.
He also made an impact at his time at New Meadow, scoring on his debut for his first Football League goal in the 2-0 home win over Gillingham.
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.
MK Dons visit to the Midlands on Saturday is the first of six games in 21 days for Jackett’s team.
McAlinden is one of five strikers vying for a strikers place at the League One club, alongside Leigh Griffiths, Kevin Doyle, Bjorn Sigurdsson and fellow academy graduate Jake Cassidy.
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