Padiham boss wants to be in the same shoes as United boss Ferguson

FIT AGAIN: Jack Overson
FIT AGAIN: Jack Overson

Storks boss Steve Wilkes wishes he was sitting as comfortably as the great Sir Alex Ferguson in the title race.

Manchester United fan Wilkes admits he’s ecstatic that United are running away with the Premier League this season following the last minute drama last term.

However, it’s a considerably different picture in his own promotion push as Padiham side hold a one-point lead at the summit of the North West Counties Premier Division.

“I certainly wish we were in a similar position,” he said.

“It’s comfortable and I’m loving it after the stick I got from Manchester City fans last season when they won the Premier League.

“But it will be even more satisfying to win promotion with Padiham after such a tight finish.

“There’s a long way to go. It’s still a big ‘‘if’ but we’re back in pole position and it’s in our hands again.”

The division took another intriguing turn this week after the League Management Committee deducted three points from Runcorn Town’s points tally for fielding an ineligible player in the 4-1 victory over Squires Gate in November.Ironically, Simon Burton’s side beat the same opposition on Monday evening to climb top of the pile, but the enforced penalty midweek means they have slipped back to second.

“It’s very exciting,” said Wilkes. “We heard the rumour about six weeks ago and recently it picked up pace.

“It’s been made official now so we’re top again.

“It doesn’t make too much difference because we’ve still got four games to win.

“It might add a bit more pressure for them because it’s no longer in their own hands.

“Their appeal has been knocked back so the punishment stands.”

Meanwhile, it’s a pivotal weekend in relation to the title chase as the Storks face third place Maine Road at Brantingham Road tomorrow, while second place Runcorn Town host fourth place Bootle.

“It’s a massive weekend for everybody challenging for the title,” Wilkes declared.

“We’ve got Maine Road and Runcorn Town play Bootle so the top four are all involved against each other.

“Then on Monday Runcorn Town play Winsford United and we’ve got Bootle on Tuesday.”

Wilkes added: “It’s up to us to finish off the job now.

“We need to back this news up with a win at Maine Road and take advantage.

“If we win then we move clear of Maine Road and either Runcorn Town and Bootle, or both, will have to drop points as well.

“It’s strange how the league and fixtures have panned out. It’s incredible.

“It’s going to be close.

“I hope it doesn’t go to the final day of the season but it’s quite possible that it will do.

“But we are all bouncing at the moment and ready for the challenge.

“There’s a great atmosphere in the dressing room and a great spirit on the pitch.”

Wilkes welcomed defender Jack Overson back in to the fray against Congleton Town, while Liam Foster is also expected to return for the Storks for Saturday’s fixture.