Liam McAlinden says Wolves’ young guns are “buzzing” about the battle to be involved with the first team next season – but has acknowledged the need for experience to take Wolves into a new era.
McAlinden was amongst a sizeable number of the club’s younger talents on their first senior pre-season tour in Scotland last week, and impressed in his two second half appearances in the victories against East Fife and Livingston.
There was a positive atmosphere around the week’s training and the matches, with the striker saying everyone is in good spirits as they battle to be in Head Coach Kenny Jackett’s plans for the big kick off at Preston next month.
“It’s been great so far and good experience for all of us,” he said.
“It was a good week up in Scotland, and the nice weather helped!
“And we’ve come away with two results as well.
“We’ve started pre-season in winning form and hopefully we can carry that on.
“Everyone is trying to impress the gaffer at the moment and all the young players are buzzing about the current situation.
“I feel I’ve done well and if I can carry on working hard hopefully I can impress him.
“There have been four young strikers here this week and then there’s Kevin Doyle at home as well so there is some very good competition.
“The four of us who have been in Scotland have all got different attributes and I’ve just been trying to show my ability.
“Leigh is a total goalscorer, ‘Cass’ has got a lot about him up there, Bjorn is quick and will get goals and I’m just trying to stake my claim and see how it goes from there.”
Jackett is keen to put his stamp on a new young and vibrant Wolves squad, but has also acknowledged the need for some older and wiser heads, as seen by the signing of Sam Ricketts as captain.
Other outfield players such as Kevin Foley, Richard Stearman, George Elokobi and Dave Edwards have also been key figures during the week-long training camp, with McAlinden saying that could be vital.
“The atmosphere among the squad has been really positive,” he says.
“There were a few of us in and around it at the end of last season and now there is a good number of younger players who were in Scotland.
“Most of us have been together since we were 11 or 12 – we know each other and each other’s games – and that really helps.
“We’re all buzzing with the idea that we’re going to get a chance and when you get that it’s up to you to make sure you take it.
“It’s also helpful that we already know the experienced lads who are here and have trained with them on occasions for a good while.
“I think that’s why the squad has settled so positively so quickly in that we all know each other and that has played a part in getting the two wins.
“The experienced lads are important in talking us through the game out there.
“We are all enthusiastic but have to make sure we are not over-enthusiastic but the older heads in the team are able to pull us back into position and make sure we do what we need to do.”
After arriving home on Saturday evening the squad were on a day off yesterday before getting straight back into training today ahead of the next friendly at Wrexham tomorrow (7.30pm).
“We’ve got another game against Wrexham tomorrow and I’m hoping to get a bit more game time there if I can,” McAlinden added.
“We’re not too far from the first game of the season now and it is everyone’s aim to be in and around it for that.
“Whoever else comes into the squad I think people can see from the two games so far that we have got some good players and can play good football.
“Training has been very lively and that will carry on and all the lads will be ready to go for the first game.”