But after giving a reminder of the industrious qualities he brings to City’s midfield during Saturday’s game against Crystal Palace, the summer signing from Manchester United is hopeful of being given further chances to impress.
James, 21, has been kept out of the side by the fine displays of Danny Drinkwater and Andy King in recent weeks, with manager Nigel Pearson rotating between a 4-2-3-1 formation and an orthodox 4-4-2.
But when Pearson opted for a tactical change early-on in Saturday’s game against the Eagles, withdrawing one of his wide players to combat the 4-3-3 formation that had helped Palace control the early stages, James took to the stage with typical enthusiasm.
Grateful for the opportunity, James is now targeting a place in the starting eleven for Saturday’s trip to Watford.
“Palace were playing three in midfield against our 4-4-2 and I think the gaffer felt we were just getting a bit overrun in there,” he said.
“I had an opportunity on Saturday, although it is hard coming on, but hopefully if I get the nod against Watford I can try to impress and stake my claim for a place in the team.
“I’ve not been playing every week recently, but I’ve got no problem with that. I can’t complain when the team has been playing so well, I’ve just got to bide my time.”
With the side already 2-0 down before he entered the fray, Saturday’s game was always going to be a difficult one for James to come into, despite his admirable performance.
But he reckons the squad have already put the defeat behind them and are hoping to make the most of a clear week to freshen the legs.
“We’ve had some good performances of late, but you can’t play well every week and sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and say ‘we weren’t at the races’,” he said.
“We’ll look to move on now. We’ve got Saturday to Saturday games now, so it’s a chance for us to look to recharge the batteries.
“This test was always going to come and it’s down to how we react now. As a group, the players, manager and coaching staff, we’re more than capable of bouncing back.”