JAMES Beattie and Edgar Davids will go head to head on Friday in one of League Two’s more unusual encounters, and Padraig Amond has backed Accrington Stanley’s debutant to have the same initial impact as Barnet’s much talked about former Dutch international.
Former England striker Beattie is set to make his first appearance for the Reds at Underhill after joining the club as player-coach on Friday.
But while the 34-year-old will be by far the biggest star on the pitch on most occasions in England’s fourth tier, his debut coin-cidentally comes against a side who can boast arguably an even more famous name.
Beattie’s second game, too, will come on Tuesday away to a Fleetwood side containing former Blackburn Rovers, Rangers and Scotland star Barry Ferguson.
Davids – a veteran of Ajax, Juventus, both Milan clubs and 74 caps for the Netherlands – took up a surprise role as Barnet’s joint manager last month.
At the age of 39, he has also returned to the field and helped a Bees side who were marooned at the bottom of the table to 10 points from their last six games.
And Stanley forward Amond believes Beattie can provide the same boost to the Reds, who sit 16th in League Two.
“If you had said at the start of the season that it would be James Beattie on one side and Edgar Davids on the other, people would have laughed at you,” Amond said.
“But there’s a decent quality of player coming down to the division. Barry Ferguson has gone to Fleet-wood as well.
“Edgar Davids has a reputation of being a pitbull on the pitch and he’s obviously come in and got results for them – whether it’s his influence or whether it’s just the players feeling more confident because they’re playing with a good player like that.
“I think a lot of our lads are going to feel a lot more confident playing with someone like James Beattie as well.
“Hopefully he can do a very good job for us.
“I’m very confident that he’ll be excellent for us and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Amond, 24, hopes that working with the experienced Beattie can help his own game and says the former Southampton and Ever-ton man’s arrival has already created excitement among the rest of the squad.
“The buzz around the lads has been brilliant since we heard there was a possibility of him coming in,” the Irishman said.
“We were travelling back to training the other day and one of the lads missed the exit because another of the guys was showing him James Beattie’s chip against Fulham on his phone!
“He has played at the highest level, he’s played for England, he’s played in the Premier League for x number of years.
“It’s great for the likes of me, James Gray and Shep (Karl Sheppard) to learn from.
“He’s come in and we’ve already learned bits and bobs off him, which is really good.
“Hopefully he can come in and make the team even better.”