Wilkes excited by nostalgic return to former club

Action from the Evo-stik league between Padiham FC & Lancaster City FC 24.08.2013 a near miss by Padihams no 10 Kieron Pickup.
Action from the Evo-stik league between Padiham FC & Lancaster City FC 24.08.2013 a near miss by Padihams no 10 Kieron Pickup.

Storks boss Steve Wilkes is eagerly anticipating the sense of nostalgia that a visit to a former club will bring tomorrow.

Wilkes featured prominently in Bamber Bridge’s successes in the early ‘90s, helping the Brig to the NWC Second Division championship in the 1991/92 campaign, as well as a semi-final place in the FA Vase.

The following season, Wilkes achieved a second-successive promotion with the club as they finished runners-up on goal difference and climbed to the Northern Premier League First Division.

Ahead of the fixture at the QED Stadium, Wilkes said: “It’ll be an interesting fixture because it’s my old club.

“I played there for about two-and-a-half years in the early 90s.

“I had some great times at the club; we reached the semi-final of the FA Vase and we won First and Second Division titles in the North West Counties during my time there.

“I loved my time at Bamber Bridge and I’ve still got a lot of friends there so it’ll be nice to go back. I know their manager Neil (Crowe) really well and I get on with all the committee members at the club.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I have some great memories from my time there so it’ll be nice to take my team to the QED Stadium as a Northern Premier League side.”

A Kieron Pickup hat-trick inspired a 6-1 thumping over Bamber Bridge at the Arbories in September, with Martin Parkes, Dean Overson and Ashley Carter completing the scoring.

Padiham, though, are without a win since the Boxing Day triumph over rivals Clitheroe at Shawbridge, and Wilkes fully understands, the challenge his side face tomorrow. We’ve not won this year which we are well aware of,” said Wilkes.

“We’ve got a tough game against Bamber Bridge tomorrow now, which we need to be up for.

“We beat them 6-1 at home earlier in the season but they’ve since responded with one loss in 18 games and now they’re in the play-off spots.

“They will be out for a bit of revenge due to the result earlier in the season.

“It’s a good game for us to bounce back in with it being a local derby. Fingers crossed we can get the three points.

“The ground is only around the corner from where we live so I should have a few family members watching as well. It’ll be a good occasion.”

Meanwhile, Padiham’s reserves entertain West Didsbury and Chorlton at the Arbories in the North West Counties League Reserve Division, kick-off 3 p.m.

l Padiham’s Under 18s, who are joint top of the East Lancashire Alliance, are on the lookout for a new goalkeeper. Anyone interested should contact secretary Alan Smith on 07775717698.