Saddlers boss Darrell Clarke was pleased to see his substitutions make an impact during Saturday’s draw against Forest Green Rovers at the Banks’s Stadium.
Clarke introduced Rory Holden and James Hardy just before the hour mark and both provided a creative spark, with the latter scoring the equaliser, and he was pleased that they both made the desired impact when they came on.
“I thought we started well,” said Clarke. “We conceded a sloppy goal which is unheard of really from James Clarke, the amount of years that I have managed him.
“I asked the boys for a response and throughout the course of the season, when your team-mate makes a mistake like that, it’s about getting him out of the proverbial.
“We certainly kept going, changed things around, asked a few questions of them.
“The lads who came on made a difference, which I demand from my subs. I thought we got a deserved equaliser.
“That’s what I say about mental strength in my teams, making sure that we never know when we are beat. The fans can feed off that sort of energy levels.
“Yes, there can be one or two moans and groans if we don’t make the right decisions with the ball, when we can go forward and we don’t need to go back, but when they see that (energy) they will get behind the lads and I thought we kept going and got a deserved equaliser.”
And on 23-year-old Hardy, who as well as scoring his first Football League goal against Forest Green, was also making his Football League debut, Clarke believes he the former Manchester City youngster has ‘magic in his boots’ and is looking forward to seeing him progress over the duration of the season.
“He’s a confident lad and I’ve told him before that he’s got magic in his boots,” the boss continued.
“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.”