McInnes de­fends let­ting Shank­land leave

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - THESCORE - Lack­pool is fa­mous for its Plea­sure Beach, but Joe Lewis did not imag­ine he would be play­ing on one. A loan spell at Bloom­field Road dur­ing the 2014-15 sea­son opened Lewis’ eyes to what neg­a­tive sur­round­ings can do to a squad and how lucky he is at Aberde

Derek McInnes is adamant it was the right de­ci­sion to let Lawrence Shank­land leave Aberdeen.

Since de­part­ing Pit­to­drie in 2017 Shank­land has plun­dered goals at Ayr United, fir­ing them to the League 1 ti­tle last sea­son and the top of the Cham­pi­onship this sea­son.

A to­tal of 28 goals in 26 ap­pear­ances dur­ing 2018-19 has sparked talk of a move to Wales, with Cham­pi­onship Swansea City re­port­edly at the head of the queue for a player who is out of con­tract in the sum­mer.

Sun­der­land have also been heav­ily linked with a move for the player, while Hiber­nian man­ager Neil Len­non is un­der­stood to be weigh­ing up a move.

McInnes took Shank­land from Third Divi­sion Queen’s Park in 2013 and he spent four years with the Dons.

How­ever, he was sent out on four loan spells and only made 17 ap­pear­ances for Aberdeen, fail­ing to score.

Despite Shank­land’s re­cent suc­cess, McInnes re­mains con­vinced it was the right call at the time.

“He went on loan to Mor­ton and St Mir­ren,” he said.

“Just speak to Jim Duffy and Jack Ross: a pat­tern emerged with Lawrence.

“It’s great he’s be­come a dif­fer­ent player. I know him well, I know his fam­ily, and I couldn’t be more pleased for him.

“Of course, I would have liked to have seen that Lawrence with us.

“He al­ways knew how to fin­ish but to play up a level, to play for our club as the main striker, he needed to be more rounded, more ath­letic, stronger – be more than just a fin­isher.

“He wasn’t that, and he’ll ad­mit it him­self.

“I still speak to him. I’m de­lighted to see him do­ing so well. He’s found a place be­side an­other striker, the sys­tem suits him, he’s shar­ing the work­load up there and he’s get­ting to where he needs to be in front of goal.

“Lawrence is a bril­liant fin­isher and that’s why we took him, for noth­ing, from Queen’s Park.

“We took a gam­ble on him.

“It was the right thing to let him go at that time. There were no ar­gu­ments.”

GRATE­FUL: Joe Lewis said that play­ers who have been to other clubs and had other

Lawrence Shank­land

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