AFC Fylde star James Hardy won his second cap for England C earlier in the week as the Three Lions secured a 3-2 victory over Wales.

Here, we speak to James about about international duty and the National League run-in as the Coasters bid for a place in the play-offs…

What was it like to go away with the international squad?

“It was a few weeks ago when I got the call. I had only just come back from injury at that point and I wasn’t really expecting it. It was great news. Everyone there is technically very good and young so it’s good to get a different experience.

“In terms of the game itself, it was a good win and great to be involved yet again. Overall, the whole team played well and on a personal note, I was pretty happy with my performance, especially in the first half. 

“Being back playing for the national side was another great experience for me so early on in my career and it’s always an achievement to represent your country at any level of the game. 

“I always see it as a chance to show what I can do and to pull on that England shirt is a massive honour.” 

How did it feel lining up alongside players that you come up against week-in-week-out in the league?

“It was quite interesting actually because I played with two lads from Dagenham who we’re going to be playing tomorrow. 

“It was interesting to train with them and play with them because you get a sense of their style of play a few days before the game. I don’t think that will have too much of an impact though.” 

How much has your time with Fylde helped in your development?

“I think the way we play here at Fylde helps me as an attacking player. We are expansive and the gaffer lets me have some freedom so that has helped my development.”

Back to club matters, is there still a sense of frustration after the Hartlepool game or is everyone ready to go again?

“I’ve only just got back after being away with England but all around the place, everyone is really pumped up for this weekend. 

“Everyone is working hard and ready to go again. We see the next game as a big chance to get this frustration out of our system and forget about it. 

“To be winning 3-1 so late on and to not win the game was very frustrating. We definitely deserved to win but we’ve just got to make sure that kind of thing doesn’t happen again.” 

Looking ahead to the Dagenham game and the play-off picture, it’s becoming more and more important to get these wins on the board now isn’t it?

“Virtually every game that we’re going into now is massive. They’re all pretty much must-win and tomorrow is no different. 

“We’ve got to try and win the game from the first whistle, being as positive as we can. Dagenham equalised late on against us in the game at Mill Farm earlier in the season so hopefully we can get the victory and a bit of pay-back.” 

What are your hopes for the rest of the season?

“Personally, I’d like to keep playing well to stay in the England C manager’s plans, but the most important thing for me is to keep playing well for Fylde. 

“I want us to get into the play-offs and to get promoted would be absolutely amazing. Everyone is working really hard to try and achieve that and I believe we have an amazing team with every chance of doing it.”