Absence has certainly made the heart grow fonder for Steve Wilkes as the Storks boss returns to his home comforts.
The Arbories chief hasn’t watched a game of football from his own dug out since December 17th when Padiham beat Congleton Town 2-1 courtesy of second half goals from Garry Hunter and Marc Young.
A three-game stadium ban, issued after the 5-3 defeat against West Didsbury & Chorlton in the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy, coupled with postponements stretched his hiatus to three months.
But the club’s long-serving manager is back on familiar territory tomorrow and AFC Liverpool are the visitors in the Hallmark Security Premier Division.
“I’m back home,” he said. “I can’t believe it. It’s the first time that I’ve been in the dug out at the Arbories since December 10th.
“That’s more than three months! It’s madness but we’ve got a run of home games coming up now.
“I’ll probably forget where I’m going. I’ll have to put the postcode in my sat-nav to make sure that I get there. It’s a tough game on Saturday but it’s a big opportunity for us.”
He added: “We’re a point behind AFC Liverpool, we have three games in hand on them and it’s a chance for us to go above them.
“We want to finish in the top six. It’ll be nice to be back home again. I haven’t seen it since we beat Congleton there.
“We’ve had six away games on the trot and they haven’t been local. It’s good to get back on your own patch.
“The pitch should be fantastic because nobody has played on it. It’s a shame that we haven’t played there recently.”