AFC Fylde manager Dave Challinor was delighted with the performance of returning midfielder James Hardy during the 3-3 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 over recent weeks netting twice in his last three outings, including the third in Saturday’s draw against Hartlepool.

England C international Hardy, signed from Manchester City in October 2015, has been long 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 tonight 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.”