PAUL Carden has added his thanks to departing defender Jay McCarten for his service to Warrington Town.

Yellows’ longest-serving player brought his seven-year stay at Cantilever Park to an end earlier this week by joining City of Liverpool.

The form of Mark Roberts and Dave Raven as a partnership since arriving last season – plus a serious ankle injury – blocked McCarten’s path to the first team and Carden admits he had to let him go so he could get the minutes he needed.

> 'The best things I will achieve in football have been here' - McCarten reflects on his Yellows career

He also believes the 28-year-old will be the best centre-half in City of Liverpool’s division.

“At lower levels, the turnover of players is massive and when managers come in, players change,” he said.

“Anyone who has come in here has wanted to keep Jay and work with him and we were no different.

“It was a difficult conversation to have. Jay will be the first to tell you we’ve tried to make everything right for him.

“We looked after him to the best of our ability when he had that awful injury.

“I gave him more game time than all the defenders in pre-season to try and get him right and ready.

“Jay’s at an age where he needs to play.

“I know Jay will go into the City of Liverpool team and be the best centre-half in the league by a long way. It was no good him being a sub centre-half at his age.

“He needs to play to get his timing back, but I know he will do that.”

Carden made McCarten his captain shortly after arriving at Cantilever Park in October 2016, replacing promotion-winning skipper Ciaran Kilheeney.

He was immediately impressed by the way his performances lifted upon being given the armband.

“When I first came to the club, I’d just come from the Conference with Tranmere,” he said.

“I looked at Jay and thought “you’re better than some Conference defenders.” I thought he could kick on and move up.

“I think giving him the captaincy was a big part of him stepping up because he embraced it.

“Ciaran Kilheeney was still at the club, who was a fantastic goalscorer and led the club to the title in the league below.

“To take the captaincy off somebody like him and to play the way Jay did with it, he didn’t look back.

“He’s a great lad but he’ll do well wherever he goes.”

Moving forward, McCarten’s departure leaves Town with only Roberts and Raven as recognised central defenders.

Carden says he has options in terms of replacements but will not be rushed.

“We have got a few irons in the fire but as I’ve said before, I don’t want to bring players in who aren’t going to impact on the 11,” he said.

“That’s especially important at centre-half. You can take a chance to some degree on players further up the pitch, but your defenders have to be your solid ones.

“They have to be seven out of 10 minimum every week and that’s what we’re looking for.”