Padiham boss Wilkes has mixed feelings

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PADIHAM manager Steve Wilkes has admitted he has mixed feelings over the North West Challenge Cup draw, after drawing title-challengers Maine Road in the Quarter-Finals.

A 1-0 victory in the cup on Saturday against AFC Blackpool leaves Padiham with a great chance of a league and cup double, but despite their great run of form, Wilkes said he was disappointed to draw Maine Road.

He said: “I’m slightly disappointed we’ve drawn Maine Road as we still have to play them twice in the league.

“We play them three times in five weeks I think, and to beat them three times in five weeks will be tough.

“We got a home draw which is always good, and confidence is high at the moment.

“We just need to keep our feet on the ground and push on.”

Padiham travel to 20th place St Helens Town tomorrow, aiming to maintain their title-challenge after closing the gap at the top to just one point and currently sitting in third place behind Maine Road and leaders Runcorn Town.

And with that in mind, Wilkes knows it will be vital to pick up three points against a team struggling at the foot of the table.

“With no disrespect, if we want to challenge for the league we need to be beating teams like St Helens.

“They’ve won their last two games, and in this league anything can happen, but we go there tomorrow after the three points.”

Despite a tough game against Blackpool at the weekend, Wilkes confirmed his squad are injury-free and will be fit for the challenging few months ahead. “Everyone will be fine, the physio has been great all season and they had Monday off to let a few knocks heal.

“We’ll maybe try to get a few more bodies in, and I’m sure that will help with the push towards now and the end of the season.”