Darlington had ‘no option’ but to take in-form Hardy back, says Buxton boss McIntosh

Buxton FC v Warrington, Liam Hardy
Buxton FC v Warrington, Liam Hardy

Buxton boss Martin McIntosh believes Darlington 1883 had “no option” but to recall Liam Hardy due to the form he showed during his loan spell at Silverlands.

In-form front man Hardy bagged six goals in four matches for the Bucks during in his month-long stay in Derbyshire from the National League North club.

A return of 57 goals from 85 games for Buxton earned Hardy a move to Darlington in February 2016 and the Quakers went on to seal the title and promotion last term.

The striker has seven goals from 12 league starts this season for his parent club and has shown his scoring prowess once more whilst with the Bucks.

McIntosh said: “We were grateful to Darlington for having Liam for a month because he wasn’t playing much at Darlington. But due to the form he has shown with us and the goals he’s scored then I think Darlington had no option than to take him back.

“We did try to keep him longer but the idea was it was always going to be a month to get him matches and see whether he started scoring again, which he has.

“I think he’s very much at home at Buxton. He’s familiar with the surroundings, he’s familiar with myself and Tim (Ryan, assistant) and with the players. There’s no doubt he’s very comfortable in our surroundings and what we do.

“I would like to think all the players are too, not just Liam. We at the club try to create an environment and a good atmosphere from the chairman down. The whole club contribute to it being a good club to be at and it is a good club to be at.

“Bradley Grayson has been brilliant all season for me. Jamie Jackson has been good all season for us up front. Bringing Liam in was to help them and help the whole club.

“You can’t see out the season with just 16 players, you need to continuously freshen things up and you can’t expect the same players week-in and week-out for 46 games to perform at the level, especially strikers and especially wide men.

“We freshen it up all the time to help the players we’ve currently got. Those players have got us there to be in a position that we’re in. I’m very confident in the players I’ve got.

“If I need to strengthen and bring other players in then all I need to do is discuss it with Dave Hopkins and he’ll back me.”

Buxton moved back up to second in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division table on Tuesday night after a 2-0 win over Hednesford.

McIntosh said: “We got the result in the end and that was the most important thing. We scored two very good goals and could have perhaps had more too. The performance wasn’t the most important thing it was the result.

“When we finished the match against Stafford we were second, when the match was called off on Saturday you could be seventh, you can’t afford to look at the table and be completely up one match and then be slightly deflated the next.

“After winning last night, the table is a little bit false at the moment. Although you feel good for being second you’re only a couple of points from being back in seventh so we have to keep ourselves upbeat.

“We just need to carry on, put in performances and pick up points and see where it takes us.”

Just two points separate six teams from second to seventh in the standings behind leaders Blyth Spartans, who have opened up a 12-point gap at the top.

Buxton travel to face ninth-placed Spennymoor Town this coming Saturday in what McIntosh expects to be another tough test for his troops.

The two teams drew 2-2 in the reverse fixture at Silverlands in October but Spennymoor have had an inconsistent start to 2017.

“Spennymoor are the biggest team in the league,” said McIntosh. “Having played them earlier on in the season I thought they would have been running away with the league at present, with the resources and the players they have signed.

“I thought they would win the league comfortably. And I still expect them to be in and around it, albeit, falsely they’re in ninth.”

And added: “A lot has happened since the last time we played them. Looking at the fixtures at the start of the season you always knew Spennymoor away was always going to be one of the hardest or more difficult matches you are going to face.

“I expect a very difficult game. Just as any team that goes to Buxton, we’ve only lost once in 15 matches at home so people will be looking at us and saying it’s a hard place to go as well.”