Arbories clash is a ‘must win’ for Storks

Bamber Bridge FC v Clitheroe FC.  James Walker for Clitheroe.
Bamber Bridge FC v Clitheroe FC. James Walker for Clitheroe.

Steve Wilkes has described Padiham’s clash against title-chasing Runcorn Town as a ‘must win’ game.

The Storks, in sixth position in the North West Counties Premier Division, are currently 12 points adrift of tomorrow’s opponents with a game in hand and Wilkes is well aware that his side need to make the most of these opportunities if they are to mount a serious promotion push.

With Padiham enjoying a bright run of form, losing just once in 13 outings, Wilkes said: “It’s a ‘must win’ game for us. We’ve lost twice against Bootle and Atherton Collieries and lost against Runcorn Linnets and 1874 Northwich.

“We haven’t beaten anybody above us. I’m challenging the players to put that right if they’re serious about getting in the mix.

“We need to be winning these games, it’s as simple as that. We’ve got some huge games coming up after that too. We play three of the teams above us in the next month.”

Meanwhile, Wilkes has brought in three new faces ahead of the crunch fixture at the Arbories, which kicks off 3 p.m.

Wingers Joel Melia and Paddy O’Brien have joined from Colne and Nelson respectively while James Walker has joined from Clitheroe FC.

With Brandon Barski suspended and Alex Murphy unavailable for selection, Wilkes said: “It was important that we got somebody in. They’ve come in at a good time for us and bring a lot of experience.

“Joel was at Padiham when he was 17 before signing for Ashton United. He’s not been getting any game time at Colne at all because they’ve signed one or two players. He’s a decent player.

“I’m excited with the capture of James. He’s been Clitheroe’s first choice left back for a number of seasons now but after his injury (hamstring) he struggled to get back in because they’ve been doing so well.

“Paddy was with us when we were in the Evo-Stik League. He’s got lots of ability but he just needs to knuckle down.”

However, forward Sean Cookson has been allowed to move on and will team up with City of Liverpool in the First Division.

“We’ve definitely strengthened the squad with those additions though there has been one departure that has saddened me,” said Wilkes.

“Sean Cookson has signed for City of Liverpool in the division below. He’s been absolutely brilliant for us and he’s one of the fittest and nicest lads that I’ve worked with. He goes with the club’s best wishes.”

lThe club will be hosting ‘Simmy Day’ post match, a charity event held in remembrance of Martin Simm and in aid of Pendleside Hospice and Macmillian.

Entry, from 6-30 p.m., is free and the night will include a raffle, DJ and music from local band Aspire.