Storks boss Steve Wilkes believes teenager Josh Emmott has got a bright future ahead of him.
The midfielder netted on his 18th birthday to help Padiham to a 3-1 win over Maine Road at the Arbories at the weekend.
Wilkes, who likened the youngster to Newcastle United’s Jack Colback, introduced Emmott as a second half substitute and was rewarded for his faith in the 50th minute.
“He came on at half-time and put in a very mature performance,” said Wilkes.
“He was great and he scored a brilliant goal. He was always looking for the simple, kept everything simple and he gets stuck in as well.
“There were scouts at the game from Salford City and Bradford Park Avenue and if they’ve not gone away purring about his performance then there’s something wrong.
“He reached the last 32 of the England Under 18s trials so you can see he’s got something. He showed one or two of the older lads how to play and he’ll be pushing for a start now.
“I’ll be very surprised if he’s not been snapped up by a Football League team in the next 18 months.”
Wilkes also introduced 17-year-old Jake Townsend who had arrived on loan from Morecambe.
“He also scored a great goal,” said the Padiham boss. “He dropped his shoulder, took two defenders out of the game, took it on to his right foot and smashed the ball in to the top corner from 25 yards out. The goalkeeper didn’t even move.
“That’ll do their confidence a world of good. He only arrived on Saturday morning so we haven’t even seen him in training yet but he’s made an instant impact.”
Wilkes added: “We were without Kieron Pickup and Chris Turner too who are two of our key players. I think that shows our strength in depth.”
Padiham, 17th in the North West Counties Premier Division, now take on Congleton Town at the Arbories tomorrow (kick off 3 p.m.).
The Storks, who tackle Ashton Athletic at Brocstedes Park midweek, face the Bears twice in seven days as they travel to Ivy Gardens next Saturday.
And Wilkes has identified this spell as an ideal opportunity to climb the table.
“We’ve got to play Congleton Town twice in a week now,” said Wilkes. “We’ve got Ashton Athletic in-between as well.
“We need to start climbing the table after closing the gap in recent weeks and we’ve got a good opportunity to do that.
“We need to keep this momentum going and we need to be beating the teams around us.”
Meanwhile, Kendal Town have put seven days on defender Adam Freeland while Runcorn Town have put seven days on winger Daley Woods.
“I’m waiting to hear from there to see what they decide,” said Wilkes.
“It’s difficult because both clubs can offer better packages than we can so we’ll just have to wait and see what the outcome is.”