Massive summer facing Hardy says Fylde boss Challinor

James Hardy scores against Hartlepool   Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
James Hardy scores against Hartlepool Picture: STEVE MCLELLAN
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AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor was delighted with the performance of the returning James Hardy in Saturday’s 3-3 home draw against Hartlepool United.

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AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor was delighted with the performance of the returning James Hardy in Saturday’s 3-3 home draw against Hartlepool United.

The mercurial midfielder has endured a stop-start 12 months due to injury but has become a fixture in the side in recent weeks, netting twice in his last three outings, including the third against Pools.

England C international Hardy, signed from Manchester City in October 2015, has long been considered one of the brightest prospects in non-league football and Challinor believes the 21-year-old has a huge summer ahead of him.

Challinor said: “James got his goal and looked really bright but the biggest thing for me was that he got close to 90 minutes under his belt. That will do him the world of good.

“He has got himself back fit, and the remaining games and then pre-season are massively important in order for him to kick on and come back ahead of the game next term.

“He joined up with the England C squad at the start of the week for their game against Wales, so he will be away for a few days.

“It’s a good experience for James and it comes at a good time because it gives him an extra game in his comeback from injury.”

Challinor will again be forced into changes this Saturday for the trip to Dagenham and Redbridge, with captain Sam Finley serving the second game of a three-match ban and full-back Zaine Francis-Angol away on international duty with Antigua & Barbuda.

Finley was replaced by on-loan midfielder Callum Chettle at the weekend, while fellow loanee Jordan Flores could fill in for Francis-Angol, who is set to face Jamaica and Bermuda this week.

Challinor was keeping his cards close to his chest but is confident that whichever side he fields can pick up a vital three points in the capital after the Coasters slipped four points ouff the National League play-off zone.

The Coasters boss said:

“We will have to make changes again at the weekend.

“We have an idea of how we will line up and who will replace Zaine and Sam, but we will have a look over the week.

“There are opportunities and places up for grabs, so I want people to show me that they want that shirt.

“That has to happen during the week to make my decision easier or harder.

“Regardless of who we pick, I’m confident we can go there and put in a winning performance to put us closer to where we want to be.”