FC Halifax Town: New signing McAlinden determined to get back on track after a frustrating season

HALIFAX, ENGLAND 6TH AUGUST Michael Raynes of Hartlepool United in action with Liam Mcalinden           during the Vanarama National League match between FC Halifax Town and Hartlepool United at The Shay, Halifax on Tuesday 6th August 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
HALIFAX, ENGLAND 6TH AUGUST Michael Raynes of Hartlepool United in action with Liam Mcalinden during the Vanarama National League match between FC Halifax Town and Hartlepool United at The Shay, Halifax on Tuesday 6th August 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

New Town striker Liam McAlinden is aiming to kick-start his career after a frustrating season at Cheltenham.

McAlinden joined Cheltenham last summer after a successful two-year spell at Exeter, but only started five games for them before joining Kidderminster and Brackley on loan.

The 25-year-old left The Robins this summer by mutual consent halfway through a two-year contract.

“I had a good two years at Exeter, I really enjoyed it down there,” he said.

“I played nearly 70 games over two seasons, we made the play-off final twice in a row, so that was a good period for me, but it didn’t really work out at Cheltenham how I’d planned.

“The last year’s been difficult, I haven’t really experienced anything like the last year in my career, but hopefully it only makes you stronger, and I’m determined to prove people wrong, which is always a good thing in the game.

“I’m coming here with a point to prove. I’ve got to come here and kick-start my career, and hopefully get everything back on track.”

McAlinden is philosophical about his time at Cheltenham, despite only making eight appearances for the club.

“It’s not the situation you envisage when you sign a two-year deal at a club, you expect to at least be given a fair chance and for whatever reason, I didn’t feel like I got that,” he said.

“You have to move on, there’s no grudges or bad feelings. It’s just the game, it happens to plenty of people, so I’ll move on from it and hopefully this is the right place to rebuild.”

The forward’s move to Halifax brings to an end an uncertain few weeks after leaving Cheltenham.

“I haven’t had a club over the summer,” he said. “I’ve been trialing at a few different places.

“It was just an opportunity to come and play games. That’s what I need to do, I need to kick-start my career again and this seemed like the right place to come and do that.

“I backed myself to try and stay in the Football League but it didn’t come off so I’m just happy to have the opportunity to come and play here, and hopefully all goes well and I can help the club achieve what they want to do.”

McAlinden started his career at Wolves, making his debut in April 2013 and scoring twice in 19 games.

“Wolves is my local team and the team I support,” he said. “I started there when I was seven years of age through to 22. Made my debut at 19.

“It was always the dream for me. Everyone in my family is a Wolves supporter so it was a massive occasion when I finally broke through and made my debut.

“It’s something I’ll always be grateful for and I really enjoyed my time there.

“It was a bit of a dream come true but it’s gone now. It feels like a long time ago!”

McAlinden admits it was tough to leave his boyhood team, but has no regrets.

“I’d gone through a stage of being out on loan for a full season and Wolves were back competing, just missing out on the play-offs in the Championship, and at 22, you’ve got to decide whether you’re going to play week-in, week-out at a club like Wolves or you need to go out and learn your trade,” he said.

“I had a conversation with the club and everyone thought it was better for us to part ways and go and start my career really, and become a man in the game I suppose.

“It was the right decision at the time and I wouldn’t have changed it really.”

On his first impressions of Halifax, the front-man said: “It’s been great, the training ground is a lovely set-up, the pitches are great.

“And coming to the ground, I didn’t expect it. It’s not a ground I’ve ever played at so when I came in on Monday to get everything sorted and have a walk around I was surprised.

“And to see over two-and-a-half thousand at the game, it’s a great feeling. It’s a lovely place to come and play football.

“I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully it’s a good spell for me.”

McAlinden is left-footed and describes himself as a forward who can play along the front-line.

“I’m quick, I like to play on the shoulders of defenders and get in-behind, create a lot of chances,” he said.

“I probably need to score a few more goals, and that will be the plan.

“I can score goals, I’m a good finisher.

“I work hard, I’m honest, I’ll run about, I’ll work hard for the team, and hopefully I can score a few goals.”

When asked if he has a target in mind, he said: “As many as possible! A few of those two-yard tap-ins would be lovely as well!” he joked, referring to Tobi Sho-Silva’s goal against Hartlepool on Tuesday.

“It’s not something I do. I know a lot of forwards try and set themselves targets, but I’ve just got to score as many goals as I can.”