MORE often than not seen in the Mintcakes engine room this season, Kendal Town skipper Warren Beattie admits occupying a central defensive berth feels like a home from home.
Arriving at the club in September from Northwich Victoria, Beattie made a promising start to his third Parkside Road stint until a medial knee ligament injury forced the 27-year-old to miss 11 games.
An eye-catching return to action preceded a switch to centre-half – a position Beattie occupied as Kendal reached the 2010 Unibond Premier Division play-offs, only to lose to Bradford Park Avenue.
While a six-game spell in the defensive ranks was interrupted at Ramsbottom United on Saturday, the former Preston North End trainee believes his reprised role in the Kendal backline was relatively seamless.
“Ricky and I have done pretty well together at the back to be honest and have a good understanding,” he said.
“We were missing Jack Smith on Saturday of course which meant I returned to midfield with Michael Stringfellow coming in at centre-half.
“I enjoy playing at the back and have done so before when Kendal last made the play-offs a few years ago and I will have clocked up a few games there now.
“I know I’m not the biggest and a lot of teams probably try and go direct towards me given I’m not the tallest player in the world.
“But what I try and do is let Ricky go for the headers and I drop off to try and win the pieces after that. The combination seems to work and it’s a position I enjoy playing.”
On Saturday, a Phil Dean double and a strike from Mintcakes’ old boy Gary Stopforth saw Kendal brushed aside by a team with promotion very much at the forefront of their minds.
And despite the play-offs being an unforgiving end-of-season spectacle, Beattie firmly believes Ramsbottom will be joining Curzon Ashton in the Evo-Stik's upper tier in the near future.
“To be brutally honest the first 15-20 minutes followed by the goals later in the half killed us,” he added. “After that they just sat in and were organised and hard to break down.
“It was difficult for us to create any decent chances but then again Ramsbottom are a very good side – they are quick, strong and organised.
“The three best teams in the league are Curzon Ashton, Ramsbottom and Darlington. We’ve played all three this year and they are all top quality.
“But taking everything into consideration I reckon Rammy will probably go up through the play-offs. From what I have seen they are my tip at least.”
After going head-to-head with the division’s leading lights recently, Beattie is wary of not allowing the season to fizzle out and is targeting maximum points from Saturday’s game with Harrogate Railway Athletic.
“We've got to pick ourselves up and ensure we’re not in holiday mode simply because we don’t have anything to play for,” he said.
“As the manager has said, we have to be at it because there are places up for grabs next season and if we don’t pull our finger out players might not make next year’s squad.”