TYLER French is hoping Valley Parade can become his Fylde of dreams this season.

The 21-year-old is set to make his full league debut tomorrow in the opening clash with Colchester.

French has made five previous City starts, all in cups, but has played barely 10 minutes in League Two with two late sub appearances.

But his cracking performance at right wing-back at Bolton in the Carabao Cup is likely to earn him the nod in Stuart McCall’s first line-up.

French has come a long way since Gary Bowyer took a £10,000 punt on him in from Sudbury Town in July last year – jumping up four levels.

His first season was understandably a steep learning curve but the defender credits a loan spell with AFC Fylde in the National League for accelerating his progress.

“It was very much a transitional year making the step from non-league,” said French. “I needed to go out on loan and get the game time.

“I’d only really featured in cup games so it was very important to have that consistency of being in the squad and wanting to play every week.

“It was an opportunity for me to show them all what I’m about.”

French played five times for Jim Bentley’s team, who were second from bottom when the season was shut down.

But they had begun to pick up with seven points from the last three games and only one goal conceded – and French had started them all.

“It is a very difficult league to play in. There are a lot of teams who play different ways and it’s very physical.

“I learned a lot with the gaffer Jim Bentley being a defender himself. He taught me how to handle different situations and different pressures and play several different positions in a back three and a right back as well.

“It definitely helped me to become a better player.”

As well as team-mate Sam Hornby, there was another familiar City face at the club in Mark Yeates.

French admitted one of the heroes of Stamford Bridge proved to be another valuable help during his time in Lancashire.

He added: “I came into training with him every day and he was really good to me.

“The whole time I was there, he was another one I learned a lot from”

French seems to be learning fast if the evidence of the University of Bolton Stadium is anything to go by.

Eyebrows were raised when McCall gave him the nod to play right wing-back but he responded with an impressive display as City’s season got off to the perfect start.

“I couldn’t have asked for it to go much better,” admitted French. “It was my chance to repay the gaffer’s faith in starting me.

“I get forward more, get on the ball a lot and have been working on the position with things like my crossing.

“So, it’s just another position to have in my armoury. I’m ready to play in any position I can for the gaffer.

“It wasn’t ideal that he didn’t know anything about me at first because obviously that meant I had to go out on loan to prove myself.

“But it’s been nice to have a complete clean slate from pre-season for him to see me and have his own opinion. I have had all that time to show what I can do.

“It’s gone well so far but each day as it comes.”

McCall is still actively looking for a right back and the number two shirt remains vacant. But French is happy to stick in an early claim.

“It’s nice to hear the gaffer say that he can trust me in that position.

“We haven’t got a number two but wherever the gaffer needs me to play, I’m ready and available and will give my all.

“We’ve got enough players who can play in a variety of positions so you have to be on your game every day.”