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Enjoying The Challenge

PUBLISHED

09:30 13th March 2013

Under-21 duo on recent run

Jack Price and Liam McAlinden believe Wolves have now fully adapted to life in the Under-21 Elite Group, after battling to a goalless draw at Manchester United to make it four games unbeaten.

Midfielder Price and striker McAlinden, both of whom have signed new contracts this season, have been among the mainstays of the Under-21 side which has impressed this season in qualifying for the Elite Stage and now posting an impressive four game unbeaten run.

Winger Zeli Ismail was sent off after just ten minutes of Monday’s game at Altrincham, but Steve Weaver’s side produced a mature display in front of a crowd including Sir Alex Ferguson and against a team featuring the likes of Anderson, Chris Smalling, Alexander Buttner and Nick Powell.

And while it was a solid performance which underpinned the clean sheet and point, Wolves also created chances on the break which could have actually won the game.

“We dug it out and worked really hard for each other,” said Price.

“We’ve got a good chemistry in the team and everyone puts it in for each other.

“We had a couple of chances even if they weren’t really clear-cut but we did well to hold on and get the point.

“They had some good players and it’s always enjoyable to go up against people like Anderson.

“When you are out there on the pitch you forget who he is really but it’s afterwards when you look back at the game you can see what he does and maybe assess how you did against him.

“It’s great to come up against players of that quality.”

McAlinden added:  “It was all about keeping our shape and making ourselves difficult to break down.

“The red card changed the game and was unfortunate because Zeli had started really well.

“Had it stayed eleven against eleven I think we would have had a good chance of winning.

“It was a good experience for me to be up there on my own against players like Smalling – it is experiences like that which make you a better player.”

Wolves started the Elite Stage with three successive defeats, but the four game unbeaten run has taken them sixth in the eight-team table at the halfway point, just three points off the third place which would secure qualification for the finals.

Price believes Wolves have benefitted from work on the training pitch as they adapted to the demands of doing battle with the top young players in the country.

“I think we have worked a lot harder in the last few games,” he added.

“Maybe in the first few games we didn’t keep our shape and we suffered but now we are playing as a team and know when to play and when not to play.

“Weaves (Steve Weaver) has got a framework in place and we’re working hard in training and it’s paying off in the games.

“I feel we can do well in the league going on from here now with the confidence of the run behind us.

“If we can get some more points then you never know what can happen.

“As players we want to win games even though we know at this stage sometimes it’s more about development.

“We can balance that with getting results and it’s always nice to pick up points against the really good teams.”

McAlinden added:  “I think my all-round game is improving from coming up against the quality of opposition.

“In the elite stage we’ve come up against some players who are worth millions of pounds and it’s all very good experience.

“And I’ve had a decent season goals-wise and am into double figures now which is good.”

Boss Dean Saunders and CEO Jez Moxey both took in Monday night’s game, and the boss has been a regular watcher at Telford for the home fixtures, the next of which is Monday’s visit of second-placed Liverpool (7pm).

“It’s nice when the gaffer is watching,” adds McAlinden.

“He wants players who work hard and he came in after the game on Monday and said how pleased he was with the performance.”

*Click here to view the latest Barclays Under-21 league table.

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