Padiham boss Wilkes targets 40 points to cement club’s survival

Former Stork: Lloyd Balazs
Former Stork: Lloyd Balazs

Storks boss Steve Wilkes believes hitting the 40-point mark will ascertain survival in the Evo-Stik First Division North relegation scrap.

Padiham currently sit precariously in 19th place in the hierarchy and have the likes of New Mills, Prescot Cables and Radcliffe Borough for company, while Wakefield and Ossett Albion accommodate the bottom two.

And the Storks take on four of those sides before the month’s end in what should prove to be a defining few weeks for the club’s future.

After the 2-0 loss to Darlington, Wilkes said: “The only real positive for us on Saturday was that everybody around us dropped points.

“Now we’ve got a mammoth month ahead.

“Getting seven points from our next three fixtures will go a long way to ensuring our survival.

“We are trying to get to 40 points and that total will really challenge the teams below us.

“The next few games are absolutely massive.

“We’ve got Prescot Cables, Wakefield and Radcliffe Borough coming up, plus we’ve got games against Burscough and New Mills.

“We need to take points off those teams, it’s as simple as that.

“There’s a bit of doom and gloom around the club at the moment and we need a result to change that.”

The Arbories outfit haven’t picked up a point in seven league outings, but the recent catalogue of fixtures has certainly proven unkind.

However, Wilkes has taken heart from the performance despite defeat to promotion-chasing Darlington 1883.

“We’ve lost seven games on the trot now but four of those have been against sides in the top six of the division - Warrington Town, Bamber Bridge, Ramsbottom United and Darlington,” Wilkes said.

“It’s been a bad run of games for us and that’s been coupled with a bad run of injuries.

“I had to make a triple change at the weekend because three of my players - Louis Mayers, Kieron Pickup and Max Jones - were carrying knocks.”

He added: “Defensive errors have cost us again.

“Their keeper made a couple of decent saves in the second half but Sean Davis hasn’t had a stop to make in 90 minutes. Darlington didn’t cut us open, they didn’t get in behind our full backs, and they didn’t play through the middle of us, but they prospered from our mistakes. We were punished again and that’s what teams possessing that amount of quality can do.”

Prescot Cables, who are level on points with the Storks after 30 games, are the visitors to the Arbories tomorrow with kick-off at 3 p.m.

Wilkes is now calling on his squad’s fighting spirit in a bid to avenge the defeat against the Tigers at Valerie Park in December. “They beat us 3-0 but we went there with a weakened side because there was no Ben Allen, Martin Parkes, Elliot Dunn or Lewis Jordan,” Wilkes said.

“This is a game we have to win. They’ve brought a few players in recently including Lloyd Balazs who used to play for Padiham and I had him at Runcorn.”

Wilkes added: “Like us, they are down there fighting so we need to match that fighting spirit.

“I know we’ve got the character and quality to win it.

“It gives us a bit of a psychological boost knowing they haven’t won away all season but we haven’t picked up a point yet this year so they’ll be looking at that.

“But home and away form doesn’t really come in to it at this level I don’t think.

“It doesn’t matter where we play now, we just need to get some points.”