Padiham boss Wilkes wants players to believe in themselves

In form: Kieron Pickup is the Evo-Stik First Division North's joint-second top scorer so far this season with eight goals
In form: Kieron Pickup is the Evo-Stik First Division North's joint-second top scorer so far this season with eight goals

Padiham’s players are more than good enough to play in the Evo Stik First Division North – they just don’t know it themselves.

That was the view of boss Steve Wilkes after his side went down 4-0 away to Harrogate at the weekend.

It was a disappointing defeat for the Storks who conceded three of the goals in the last 15 minutes.

“Four individual errors cost us,” he said. “The only thing our keeper had to do in the first 75 minutes was pick the ball out of the net once.

“We’ve got to try and cut these individual errors out because every time we make one, we concede a goal. The longer it goes on the more people are worrying about making a mistake and the more will be made.

“I don’t think we’re finding it tough, but we are finding it tough, if that make sense. I think we have the players that can safely get us up half way up the league and I just don’t think the players think they are good enough. There’s still some of them who are in their shells. I know they are good enough, they wouldn’t be here if they weren’t. They just need to realise it.”

Despite a difficult start, Wilkes said he was happy with the team’s progress and they had worked extremely hard to get where they were.

“Our objective is to stay up. We are way ahead of schedule compared to what our plans are when I took over. .

“We are a young side. Our eldest player is 26, so there’s hardly any Unibond experience and it’s a learning a curve, for us all. We’re still realising that we have made certain mistakes but it’s about keeping it together.”

The tough start doesn’t seem like letting up soon either with fifth-placed Kendal Town coming to the Arbories on Saturday and a trip to second in the league Curzon just two later on the Monday.

“They are all tough games in this league. No disrespect to the North West Counties League but you could look at three or four games in a row there and think ‘we can win all of these’. You can’t do that in this league.

“We do need to the strengthen the squad and that’s something I’ll be looking at over the next few weeks. We could do with a bit of experience and it’s always good to have options.

“This is what we wanted though. This is what we worked so hard for last year.”

He did admit confidence was a bit down following the defeat to Harrogate but his team’s spirit and togetherness would see them through.

“For the first time, after the defeat to Harrogate, I can sense there is a bit of doubt. We had a team meeting before training this week though and that was good. I said a few things to the players and they said a few things back to me. It was an open forum and it helped.

“We’ve got to enjoy it and embrace it but it is tough. We’ll be fine though. If we can string a few results together it breeds confidence.”

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