Steve Williams is relishing his role as the experienced head in the AFC Fylde defence.
The former Bradford City centre-half, 29, has been part of a new-look Coasters defence in recent weeks alongside young loanees Laurence Maguire, 20, Dan Jones, 22, Macauley Wilson, 19.
Injuries have forced manager Dave Challinor to dip into the loan market and Williams is enjoying the responsibility of helping young team-mates.
He said: “Being the senior defender gives you responsibility but you have to use that in the best way. I try to talk to the lads as much as possible and help them through certain parts of the game.
“It’s a good feeling after the game when they’ve all done well. I enjoy the responsibility.
“I know I’ve got to lead by example, having played for a lot longer than the other defenders. We’ve had quite a few injuries, so it’s a good opportunity for the new lads to come in and make their mark. I think they’ve done very well.
“Dan’s got a lot of talent and potentia,l and he’s very good on the ball. Laurence is younger still but he’s really fitting in well and doing a good job.
“Over the last couple of games, we’ve been getting to know each other and it’s been really positive so far.”
Williams admits Fylde haven’t been happy with their defensive record and last month’s 5-0 defeat at Salford City was a wake-up call.
“After that game we asked ourselves, ‘Do we go under as a team or do we do something about it?’”, he said.
“We got everyone together and talked about everything we were doing across the board. That included training, preparing for games and individual things too. We just had to acknowledge the reality of it all.
“We’ve had to dig deep because we cannot afford to be losing games, especially in that manner, and I think has been reflected in the three performances since Salford.
“We went to Brackley knowing we lost there last time. We knew we would be up against it, but we were resilient and you could tell how much it meant to the players.
“We’ve been working in training on having a ‘kill or be killed’ mentality. That’s shown in the performances and I think the manager will be pleased with that.”
Whilst his job primarily involves keeping goals out, Williams has been enjoying a fine run of form at the other end.
His goal at Tamworth at the weekend was Williams’ seventh of an impressive campaign and the towering centre-half admits he has made a
concerted effort to score more.
“I wouldn’t say I’m surprised with the number of goals I have – I feel I’ve always known where the back of the net is. I had it at the back of my mind that I was going to get on the end of things this season and have more of an impact at that end of the pitch.
“Obviously I’m pleased with scoring but I also need to keep them out of our net because our clean sheet record hasn’t been great. However, we’re top of the league and that’s all that matters now.”