ISOLATING striker Liam Hardy will be key to a Warrington Town victory in Saturday’s game against Buxton, manager Paul Carden says.

The Bucks’ hitman Hardy is the Evo-Stik Premier Division’s leading scorer and will arrive at Cantilever Park keen to increase his 23-goal tally for the campaign.

Carden says Yellows know all about Hardy’s threat after he scored during a 2-1 defeat in the reverse fixture back in October and he says his side need to be “at their best” to gain all three points.

“With the front-line they’ve got, they’re always going to cause problems,” he said.

“Liam Hardy’s got two hat-tricks in the past two games he’s played. He’s always up at the top end of the goal-scoring charts.

“He scored against us in the away fixture so we know what he can do. We’ve got to isolate him.

“They’ve got good players, a good manager and they always recruit well.

“We’ve got to be at our best, certainly better than we were against Marine.”

Yellows wrapped up their festive schedule with a 0-0 draw with Marine on New Year’s Day, meaning they took four points from nine available over Christmas.

Jack Higgins was sent off in the second half of the stalemate, meaning Town had to hang on for a point with 10 men at Cantilever Park.

While admitting things “could have been worse” for his side, Carden admits he had hoped for a better points return over Christmas.

“It wasn’t a great start to the year, but it could have been worse,” Carden said.

“Obviously, we wanted to accumulate more points over this period than we have done.

“Each game and each week now becomes bigger and bigger. We’ve just got to make sure we’re firing in the second-half of the season.”

Carden gave a debut to defender Tom Hamer against Marine after he joined on a work experience loan from League One side Oldham Athletic.

The Yellows boss was encouraged by Hamer’s performance as he came off the bench as part of a tactical reshuffle to cope with Jack Higgins’ sending-off.

“At times, it looked like the pace of the game was catching up with him as he’s come from youth team football,” he said.

“He’s a full-back who can play on the wing and fill in as a makeshift centre-half as well.

“You saw when he came on against Marine that he’s got good energy and good athleticism.”

Kick-off at Cantilever Park on Saturday is at 3pm.

Yellows are also scheduled to play on Monday when they visit North West Counties League Premier Division side Winsford United in the Cheshire FA Senior Cup, kick off 7.45pm.