EFL Cup - Walsall v Crawley preview: James Hardy keen to make presence felt from start
JAMES HARDY says he knows what he has to do to force his way into Walsall’s starting XI – with the midfielder determined not to become known as a supersub.
The 23-year-old, who was on the books at Manchester City as a youngster, made a huge impact after coming off the bench against Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.
In his half-an-hour on the field, Hardy helped create three chances for himself and took the final one to earn his side a 1-1 draw.
The midfielder is hoping that display will earn him a start against Crawley tonight in the Carabao Cup.
And the former AFC Fylde man insists he knows what he needs to do to force his way into the team on a regular basis.
“I don’t want to be known as a supersub,” Hardy said.
“I want to get my name on the team sheet.
“But when I’m on the bench there’s no point sulking. If you do get your chance you’ve got to try to help the team.
“To be starting games, though, I know I need to work hard and improve.
“I missed a big chance against Forest Green so I need to add more goals and more assists.
“And in previous years there have been some games where I didn’t make an impact so for me, every time I play I’m just trying to create chances and have an impact.
“Defensively too I have to work on that side.
“If you look at Liam Kinsella and Stuart Sinclair they’re unbelievable at reacting and nipping in. That’s definitely something I can look at adding to my game.”
Hardy was deployed out wide when he came on against Forest Green but kept drifting inside to cause problems.
And he feels that role – as well as playing as a number 10 – are what suits him best.
“As long as I’m playing, I’m happy,” Hardy continued.
“But my preferred position is in the hole as a number 10.
“I can play out wide, left or right. I’m not an out and out winger who will knock and run but I’ll come in and create problems with overloads and combination play.”
Having never played in the Carabao Cup before, Hardy is itching to be involved tonight.
“I’ve never played in the Carabao Cup,” he added.
“I played in the FA Cup with Fylde. For us to get a League One side was great. If we could get through a few rounds and play one of the big teams it would be an unbelievable experience.”
Walsall (4-2-3-1): Roberts, Facey, Clarke, Jules, Pring, Kinsella, Sinclair, McDonald, Hardy, Holden, Lavery. Subs: Rose, Scarr, Cockerill-Mollett, Liddle, Bates, Adebayo, Gordon.
Crawley (4-3-3): Morris, Sesay, Tunnicliffe, Dallison-Lisbon, Doherty, Bulman, Ferguson, Grego-Cox, Camara, Lubala, Bloomfield.