3 min read
31st Aug 2023
Wolves Academy defender Alfie Pond has joined League Two side Stockport County on loan for the 2023/24 season.
The Hatters move comes in the same week the 19-year-old made his senior Wolves debut off the bench in Tuesday’s 5-0 Carabao Cup win over Blackpool.
The central defender joined from Exeter City last summer and spent the year developing with James Collins’ under-21s group, as the youngsters battled to PL2 Division 1 survival.
Having spent pre-season with the Wolves first-team, featuring regularly in friendly matches, Pond was given the final nine minutes of Tuesday’s Blackpool win and helped the Old Gold to a clean sheet.
Now he departs for Stockport who have taken four points from their opening five League Two matches this season, looking to build on his 32 career appearances to date.
Wolves pathways manager Steve Davis said: “Alfie’s been with the first-team since the start of pre-season, which has given him a platform to see the level, and he’s crying out for first-team football now. He needs to go out and play against men and know what it’s about to play for points, the pressure it brings – it’s invaluable now as a 19-year-old.
“It’s hard to get young centre backs out but he’s got a great opportunity at a big club in that division, so it’s a really good fit for him. He’s done really well with the first-team, whenever he’s trained or played he’s acquitted himself really well, so I don’t see any issues with him being competitive at Stockport.
“Now it’s about fitting into the group, meeting new people, new faces, different experiences to learn from and earning their trust in training by being a good person, reliable and trustworthy. Professionalism is the first thing, then it’s about what you produce on the pitch, being consistent, taking a few hits, and it’ll be great for him to learn all about that.”
While at Exeter, Pond spent time out on loan with Tiverton Town and Yeovil Town, before moving to Molineux, and Davis believes that previous experience will set him up nicely to step up and play in League Two.
“He got the last part of the game against Blackpool, as did a few of his teammates, which is great for our academy. It gave him a taste, in front of a good crowd, and it was nice to come on when we were winning convincingly. Now he’ll be going into the start of games at 0-0, 90 minutes to build a performance and keep clean sheets.
“It’s about keeping your place, training well every day, acquitting yourself, applying to training and work, and he’s been on loan before so knows what it’s like, but now he’s a young man, it’s the serious end of it, playing for points, the pressures which come with first-team football. At Stockport, the expectation will be high, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for him and hopefully he’ll take it.”