Padiham boss Wilkes won’t walk away

Padiham boss Steve Wilkes
Padiham boss Steve Wilkes

Walking away isn’t, and has never been, an option for Storks boss Steve Wilkes.

The 47-year-old, former Preston North End midfielder, faces the growing threat of relegation from the Evo-Stik First Division North following a disastrous 1-0 loss to rivals New Mills at the Arbories.

I’m very happy at the club. I would never walk away from Padiham.

Padiham boss Steve Wilkes

Division North following a disastrous 1-0 loss to rivals New Mills at the Arbories.

Daniel Forde’s third minute strike decided the fixture and moved the Millers seven points clear of Padiham while Roy Soule’s side have a game in hand.

With just six games of the season remaining, Wilkes said: “I’m very happy at the club. I would never walk away from Padiham.

“If we do get relegated then I would like to think that the club would back me to be the man to take them back up.

“I’m not accepting that we’re down because anything could happen. It’s going to be tough to survive though. New Mills are seven points clear of us and they’ve got a game in hand.

“It was a massive game on Saturday but we just didn’t turn up. We’ve just not been good enough and that’s the top and bottom of it.

“I’ve not been good enough at the end of the day either but it’s not been through a lack of trying or working hard. We’ve still got six games left but I can’t see us getting a win from anywhere at the moment.”

Though the drop seems imminent, Wilkes is refusing to adopt a defeatist attitude and has vowed to fight until the end.

Ahead of the weekend clash with in-form Spennymoor Town at the Brewery Field, Wilkes was confident of adding to his squad before Thursday’s 5 p.m. transfer deadline.

Kidsgrove Athletic forward Daley Woods joined alongside former England under 21 international and Lilywhites winger Lee Ashcroft, while Burnley FC academy manager Jason Blake was due to make a decision on a potential loan move involving Clarets youngsters Ntumba Massanka and Alex Whitmore as the Burnley Express went to print.

“We look doomed,” said Wilkes. “We are trying to be upbeat but it’s difficult. The players don’t seem to be learning and that’s a concern for any manager.

“But I brought them to the club, they are my players so I’m part of the problem.

“I can’t fault the effort of the players, they keep running in to the 90th minute.

“But we’re just lacking that bit of quality and it’s shown. I’ve been trying my best to bring players in.”

Wilkes added: “We just need to keep going until it’s mathematically impossible.

“I’ll try to keep the smiles on their faces. Hopefully we’ll get a result on Saturday to keep us going. That’s just the way I am.

“We’ve got six games to go and we will be fighting for every single point. We haven’t given up and the lads are ready to roll their sleeves up.

“The morale in the camp is still good. We don’t want to be back where we were two years ago.”