Darrell Clarke: Walsall's James Hardy has magic in his boots
Boss Darrell Clarke believes in James Hardy Walsall have a player with magic in his boots.
Hardy, who joined the Saddlers from AFC Fylde in the summer, netted on his Football League debut as the Saddlers secured a 1-1 draw with Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.
Along with fellow substitute Rory Holden, the 23-year-old made a big impression after coming off the bench – with the duo combining for Walsall's late leveller.
And Clarke was pleased with how both players managed to come on and give the team an extra attacking spark.
"Hardy is a confident lad and I’ve told him before that he’s got magic in his boots," the boss said when asked about his goalscorer.
"He’s got to get a little bit more robust and do the ugly side of the game but he’s a work in progress, like quite a few of those boys.
"As long as they keep learning and give me that effort and determination and willingness to try to win games and make things happen in that final third I'll be happy.
"Rory Holden came on and tried to make things happen. James Hardy came on and tried to make things happen. has.
"They both did that. They made a difference and that is what I demand from my subs."
Walsall return to action tonight when they host Crawley in the Carabao Cup.
The Saddlers have a host of players who are still to make their competitive debuts with the likes of Jake Rose, Shay Facey, Wes McDonald and Zak Jules all keen to get minutes under their belt.
But while Clarke hinted he will make changes from the Forest Green, he insisted the club will take all cup competitions seriously.
"It’s a cup competition and we want to do well in the cups," the boss continued.
"They are a good source of revenue and every bit we get into this football club helps.
"We will take them seriously. We may freshen one or two things up because we have got a big load now.
"We have got to be careful with one or two because we are still bedding them in. Some players are still catching up on fitness levels. But we are looking forward to the game.
"I’ll say it now I don’t think we’re going to win the cup. But we’ll have a good go at getting as far as we can in it."