PADIHAM boss Craig Chadwick hopes his side can return to winning ways on Saturday when they welcome Atherton LR to the Arbories.
With the worst of the winter weather seemingly now over, and the snow-covered playing fields of the north west now a fading memory, Chadwick sees no reason why the Storks can’t begin playing regular games again without the threat of postponement: “We’re at home this weekend, so we’ll be hopeful of playing.
“Temperatures have improved, so I’m confident that we will be alright.”
Even the most pessimistic Storks fan will be confident of victory against tomorrow’s opponents. Atherton LR, who sit rock bottom of the table, have recorded just three victories all season and conceded a staggering 78 goals in 27 outings. However, even with such a dreadful record, Chadwick believes the match won’t be as one-sided as many would predict and insists his side must improve if they are to avoid a third straight defeat: “The last game we were a little slow to start. Squires Gate took the game to us and we were left a bit shell shocked. We definitely need to get forward quicker, so we’ll be looking to improve on that.
“We’ll be hoping for a change in fortune against Atherton, but it won’t be an easy game. We went there last month and came away with a 1-1 draw.
“They’re obviously a team down at the bottom scrapping to stay up, so it won’t be easy by any means.”
Despite their opponents’ leaky defence, the Padiham boss insists his players must focus on the important task of collecting maximum points from the game, but admits a landslide victory would be warmly greeted: “Firstly we’ll be looking to get the three points, that’s the most important thing, then if we can boost our goal difference that would be a bonus.
“Our goal difference isn’t the best in the league by a long way, so it would be nice to score some goals, but the three points is the main aim.”
One player who is hoping he can fire his team to victory is Sam Heap. Having netted three goals in his last three games, Chadwick is understandably delighted with Heap’s recent performances and is hoping his star striker can continue his goal scoring ways: “Sam’s fitting in well. He’s had a few injury problems and hasn’t always been match fit but when he’s played he’s been in good form and he wants to score goals.
“The winter break was a bit of a setback for him really, but now he’s back he seems to be enjoying his football.”
With teams in the league not having played as many games as Padiham, some managers may start to feel the pressure as they are unable to influence results, but not Chadwick; he believes there is no reason to be concerned: “I don’t really look at the teams around us.
“It’s an unpredictable league. What tends to happen is results can go against teams when they are playing on a Tuesday or Wednesday night. You can end up with some strange results; you only need to look at Bootle drawing with Ashton and Squires Gate winning away at Barnoldswick. They were some unexpected results, so you don’t tend to worry about the other teams and just focus on your own results.”