Padiham boss Wilkes targeting four more wins for survival

Knee injury: Martin Parkes
Knee injury: Martin Parkes

Storks boss Steve Wilkes is targeting four more wins to secure Evo-Stik First Division North survival.

After a winless run in January, Padiham are 17th in the table and nine points clear of the drop zone with 15 fixtures remaining. But the pressure is mounting, as Wilkes lambasted the abysmal showing in the 5-1 defeat to former club Bamber Bridge at Irongate.

“We were poor” he said. “It’s not often that I can accuse my players of not playing for me but I ripped in to them after the game and told them a few home truths. The performance was unacceptable.

“We are in a bit of trouble at the moment. We’ve lost every game in January and we have a very tough February coming up. We can’t keep clean sheets either. Last season we kept 21 and we’ve only kept three all season. Collectively as a team it’s not good enough.

“I think the players are feeling the pressure a bit; I think we all are. Offensively we have one of the best forward lines in the division, but defensively we look a shambles. It’s my job to rectify that and that’s what we’ll be working on.”

The Storks entertain league leaders Warrington Town at the Arbories tomorrow, with kick-off at 3 p.m.

Shaun Reid’s side have lost just five league games all season, three in the last eight outings, while the Wire have taken 28 points from 13 games on their travels this term.

That statistic, coupled with Padiham’s recent form and injury to skipper Martin Parkes, has forced Wilkes to recruit and the Storks boss is confident of adding a couple of new faces ahead of tomorrow’s clash.

“People keep saying that we are not going to go down but we’ve got Warrington Town next and they are flying,” Wilkes said. “If we don’t get anything against them then it could make things interesting.

“I’m looking to bring in at least two defenders. We really need to add because I’m struggling for numbers in terms of fully fit defenders. It’s a tough game and if we get anything out of it I’ll be very pleased. If we don’t then we’ve got Wakefield the following week so that will be a huge game. I’m expecting a response against the league leaders.”

He added: “Martin Parkes will be a big loss because he’s our captain and he’s Padiham through and through. He will throw his head in anywhere for the cause. It looks like a serious knee injury so we’ll have to assess it. We’ve been unfortunate with injuries this term.”

Wilkes now has one eye on the 40-point mark, a landmark he believes will signal an excellent achievement for the club in their inaugural season in the eighth tier of English football. “We need about 12 or 13 points for survival and if that happens then it’ll be a great achievement for the club and we’ll be very happy,””