TOM JAMES has spent the last two years battling Christian Doidge – and admits it has been one of his toughest tasks in football.
And he has backed Hibs’ £300,000 hitman to torment Scottish defences.
James was on the books at Yeovil from 2017 and relished the challenge afforded by League Two rival Doidge, who was leading the line for Forest Green Rovers.
Doidge notched an impressive 63 goals for Rovers but only found the net once against Yeovil once in that time, in a 3-0 triumph in February – and James was sidelined that afternoon.
Nevertheless, he cannot wait to be on the same side as the bustling striker after a few titanic tussles between the pair.
James smiled: “For last two years, we actually had a bit of a rivalry but it’s good to be playing with him and see how good he really is in training and in the games.
“He’s definitely a tough opponent. I don’t want to praise him up too much as he’ll probably see this!
“No, he is one of the toughest strikers I have played against when I was at centre-half, so it’s good to have him for ourselves.
“The challenge of Scottish football is something that was mentioned to me at the very start – people saying it’s quite a physical league. However, having played in League Two, I’m sure he will fit in really well.”
Doidge bagged his first goal in Hibs colours in their breathless 4-3 friendly win over Carlisle on Tuesday night, converting a trademark towering header.
James smiled: “I have seen him doing that week-in, week-out down south in League Two – and he’s only taken until the third game of pre-season to do it here.
“It’s a good start for him to get off the mark and I’m sure we will see plenty more.”
Doidge and James are part of the new Welsh contingent at Easter Road along with goalkeeper and fellow summer signing Chris Maxwell.
And the former under-19 international is praying Wales boss Ryan Giggs casts a glance north of the border.
James added: “International football is one of the biggest reasons I came up here.
“There’s a lot of matches on TV and that gives you the platform to play in front of even more people than you can think of. Hopefully, performing in full stadiums and high-profile matches will help put my hat in the ring for the Welsh squad.
“You see guys like Marc McNulty get a Scotland call last season because of the way they played for Hibs and it makes you believe you can be the next one. Fingers crossed it all goes well – to play for Wales is a dream come true if it happens.”