LUKE James says he is ready to provide the Hartlepool United nuisance factor as they go looking for goals in League Two.
The 18-year-old signed off from last season on a high, finally winning a place in the side and responding with a string of man-of-the-match performances.
James now looks set to start the new campaign in a forward role and believes that his industry can help transform the side’s fortunes in front of goal.
“Just from speaking to my team-mates at Hartlepool, they all say that defenders hate playing against players like me,” the Amble-born ace told SportMail today.
“So I suppose that’s a compliment really.
“If I’m working hard and being a nuisance then it might make things happen for my team-mates.
“I’ll never change that, I’ll always give 110 per cent every time I play, I don’t know any other way.”
And James admits that centre-backs usually have to resort to physical means in a bid to curtail his livewire nature.
“I love it when the centre-backs are trying to kick and shove me – it means I’m doing something right,” he went on.
“I just get on with it.
“I’m not the biggest but I like to try to buzz around them and make their job as hard as I can.
“Some of them call me ‘busy’ but I just laugh and get on with it.
“I might annoy a few of them but that’s my job.
“So I think my best position is down the middle against the big centre-backs.
“I feel more comfortable when they’re battering me and I’m used to that now – it’s definitely my favourite role.”
But James will also be looking to improve his goals return.
He has six senior strikes to his name having been around the first-team set-up for 18 months now.
Last season, however, saw him make just four league starts.
And goals and appearances are very much at the forefront of his mind with the new term less than three weeks away.
“I had a double-hernia operation in October and it was a horrible time for me,” he reflected.
“There’s nothing worse than not being able to do anything.
“So as much as I didn’t want last season to finish, this is kind of like a new start for me.
“If I play more games then I’ve got more chance of scoring more goals, which is my aim.
“So my first target is to get in the team and stay there.
“I’m looking forward to it already, we’ll be looking to bounce straight back up.”