Altrincham have made an exciting breakthrough in their quest for new recruits after completing a loan deal for flying Burnley winger Josh Ginnelly.
The 18-year old right-sided midfielder is joining the Robins on an initial one-month agreement and arrives with impressive credentials after taking the eye at Shrewsbury and joining Burnley for an undisclosed six-figure fee last August.
It is a timely development for manager Lee Sinnott, with the need for reinforcements becoming all the more acute after Shaun Densmore was booked in for an operation on his knee and forced to accept his season is over.
Though naturally disappointed at having to delay his comeback plans, the Alty skipper was at least consoled by an assurance from his specialist that surgery would resolve the problem and enable him to return fully fit at the start of next season.
While Densmore will play no further part in the current campaign, there are high hopes that, free-scoring winger, Ginnelly will make a positive impact on Alty’s fortunes after having his temporary transfer rubber stamped on Friday and coming into contention for an immediate debut against Gateshead at The J.Davidson Stadium on Saturday.
Nuneaton-born, the 5`8” wide man spent seven years at Aston Villa’s Academy before moving to Shrewsbury and earning himself rapid promotion to the senior squad with some scintillating performances for the youth and reserve teams.
Sky Sports’ online scout feature monitored him during the 2014/15 season, in which he scored a remarkable 24 goals from the right flank for the youth and reserve sides, and gave him rave reviews, describing him as `an exceptional talent – very much one to watch and someone who already has Premier League and Championship clubs tracking him`.
Rating various aspects of his game, they awarded him nine out of ten for pace and estimated his potential transfer market value at £6million.
Shrewsbury manager Micky Mellon did his utmost to upgrade the youngster to a professional contract but eventually lost out to Burnley, who paid a six-figure sum for his services and put him on a three-year deal.
There was no bitterness from Mellon, though, who said: “I just felt he would be better served staying at a club who care for him and with a manager who knows him, because he still has some developing to do. But the two clubs have come to an agreement after a long-drawn-out process, and I wish Josh well at Burnley.
“I hope he goes on to become a huge success there and shows everyone the potential he has. He is a lad of great promise, with fantastic potential, and there’s no doubt in my mind he can go right to the very top.”
Densmore, meanwhile, was able to cast a positive light on his latest setback, after being booked in for surgery on January 28th.
“It’s a blow, but I was half-expecting it after the medial ligament injury failed to clear up as we hoped,’ he said. ‘The surgeon said three to four months, so we are looking at pre-season and making sure I have a really good summer to ensure I’m back in peak condition for the start of the next campaign.
“Evidently, we all have two medial ligaments, and one of them runs near the cartilage, which makes sense because initially we thought this injury may be a cartilage. It explains a lot really, because when I came back from the last one, I wasn’t in any pain but there did seem to be a weakness in that area.
“That’s because the fibres had not re-attached properly, but this operation will sort that out by pinning the ligament firmly to where it should be. That’s the one good thing – the surgery is a reconstruction, rather than just a clean-up, so there’s every reason to believe I’ll be back as good as new and a lot more confident about the knee withstanding the demands of a long, hard season. In a way, I’m almost relieved we may finally be close to sorting it out once and for all.”