Boss Wilkes doesn’t want standards to slip

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Storks boss Steve Wilkes expects his players to maintain their standards after setting the bar in the victory over 1874 Northwich.

Having trailed through Samuel Hare’s opener right on half-time at St Luke’s Barton Stadium at the weekend, Padiham hit back as Kieron Pickup’s double dented their opponents’ title dreams.

Former Preston North End midfielder Wilkes hailed the performance as one of the best this year, but he doesn’t want it to be an anomaly following a string of disappointing displays in the Hallmark Security Premier Division.

“It was one of our best performances this year,” he said. “We played really well and deservedly won the game.

“In all honesty we should’ve won by a bigger margin. We changed the system and in the end it could’ve been four or five.

“I was talking to Steve Pickup about the situation. We were really poor in the three previous games against teams in Liverpool. After that I thought we were about six or seven players away.

“Then we perform like that against 1874 Northwich and you start to question yourself again. But we can’t play well below par in three games and play well in one. We know where we are.”

Wilkes added: “They’ve got 13 games left to show me whether they want to be around next season. They’ve set the standard again now and they’ve got to maintain those levels.

“The wheels are already in motion and if I can bring in half-a-dozen players for next season then I will be happy.”

Wilkes received the news he was dreading earlier in the week with confirmation that Garry Hunter’s injury was as severe as expected.

The talismanic midfielder has suffered a tear in his ACL, sustained a grade one tear in his medial ligament and ruptured his meniscus.

The Arbories chief feels the former Morecambe FC man could be sidelined for up to 12 months.

Meanwhile, ahead of the postponement of the midweek fixture against AFC Darwen at the WEC Group Anchor Stadium, Wilkes revealed that striker Aaron Taylor has left the club.

“The postponement may have been a bit of a blessing in disguise,” said Wilkes. “We had a handful of players missing including Kieron Pickup, Mark Coyne, Ashley Brierley and Conor Docherty. However, after the performance against 1874 Northwich we really wanted to play.”

Padiham face Congleton Town tomorrow at the Richborough Estates Stadium.