JORDY Hiwula’s loan spell at Walsall last season helped him come of age as a footballer.
Nine goals in 20 appearances for the Saddlers helped the Manchester City Academy graduate dip his toe into first-team football in style.
The 21-year-old aims to show his gratitude to Walsall this weekend - by sending them home from the DW Stadium on the receiving end of a beating!
“It will be a very special game for myself to face Walsall,” Hiwula told the Evening Post.
“I was there for the last three months of last season, and I felt I did really well there.
“I was able to score a few goals and, not only that, I also felt my overall game improved a lot.
“There’s a good bunch of lads there - as there is here - and that’s what you want when you go to a new club.,
“You want to settle into the dressing room, get a feel for the club and want to make a difference.
“I still keep in touch with a few of the boys, and it’ll be great to play against them on Saturday.”
Hiwula’s form at the end of last term persuaded Huddersfield to sign him on a permanent basis this summer, before loaning him out to Latics for this season.
And the Saddlers have proved there is life after the Mancunian-born hitman by picking up this term where they left off.
“Towards the end of last season, we went something like seven games unbeaten before the last game,” Hiwula recounted.
“You could tell at the time that they were building something good, and they’ve managed to continue it into this year.
“They’re doing really well at the moment - I think they’re second in the table - and it’s going to be a tough game.
“They play good football, we play good football, and I’m sure it’ll be a good footballing game.
“Everyone’s looking forward to it and hopefully we’ll do well.”
Latics go into the clash on the back of successive draws against Oldham and Millwall.
They needed a stoppage-time leveller to escape with a point against the Lions in midweek, although the overall performance was possibly deserving of more.
“We probably see it as two points lost, because we had control of the game apart from the little blip where they scored their two goals,” admitted Hiwula.
“We know we could have done better in certain points of the game and hopefully we can do better against Walsall.
“It’s a big game for us, because we’ve drawn the last two and we feel we could easily have won both.
“Hopefully we’re on our game on Saturday, everyone gives 100 per cent and we can get three points.
“We’re still unbeaten at home, and the challenge is to keep that going until the end of the season.
“We want teams to be fearing coming here, and we need to keep that going as long as possible.
“Obviously this club is a big club in this league, it’s a real thrill to play at the DW, and we need to take advantage of that.
“We’re keeping the ball well at the moment, our possession stats are showing that.
“When we are going forward we maybe just need to start creating a few more chances, and hopefully that will lead to more goals.”
Will Grigg’s goalscoring cameo against Millwall was a massive boost for everyone connected with the club, with Hiwula having been ploughing the lone furrow in recent weeks as the only fit senior striker.
Not that the England youth international is about to start complaining.
“There’s plenty of work but I have played up there before,” he added.
“I like the role as well, because it pits a lot of responsibility on your shoulders and I feel like I can hold the fort on my own when it’s needed.”