Padiham return to action on Saturday as they entertain Maine Road at the Arbories.
After playing more games than any other team in the NWCFL so far this season, the Storks had a much-needed midweek break, due to their fixture at Alsager Town being cancelled because of on-going work at the Town Ground as a result of a fire earlier in the summer.
Padiham go into the game without David and Scott Gray, who have both been transferred to Barnoldswick, although boss Craig Chadwick recently added Martin Broderick from neighbours Colne.
Although the Grays have moved on, Chadwick realises that players come and go: “They both came to us during the off season, and when we came to pre season training Scott was going away on holiday for near on a month, and David was just coming back from an injury, so it was a case of biding their time with us and pushing for a place in the first team, which with the size of the squad we have, it’s obviously a tough challenge.”
But even though the Brantingham Road outfit are sat in the bottom half of the table, they are only two places behind Padiham, and Chadwick is aware it won’t be an easy game: “Maine Road are a consistent side and you can pretty much expect a respectable top half finish from them, but with us being at home and playing on one of the best surfaces in the league, I expect our players to put in winning performance.”
Form and history is with the Storks, winning their previous game against Maine Road 2-1 back in March, and in their past four meetings Padiham have lost only once.
They may have played more games than anyone else, but Chadwick believes the depth in the squad has enabed them to continue putting in commendable performances.
He said: “With us not playing a game this week, it’s given us a chance to get some more training in and gives a chance to some players who are on the bench to show their potential.
“The fact that we have a big squad should tell the players that they have to work for a place, and that a starting place in the team is not guaranteed.”