Storks boss Steve Wilkes believes his squad is starting to replicate certain traits that helped the club win the North West Counties Premier Division last term.
Padiham have endured a baptism of fire in the Evo-Stik First Division North with Jack Overson, Elliot Dunn, Lewis and Spencer Jordan, Max Jones, Louis Mayers and Sean Davis all sidelined through victory.
And aside from that, the Storks have already played second place Curzon Ashton and third place Farsley on two occasions as well as taking on top of the table Warrington Town at Cantilever Park.
But in recent weeks Wilkes insists that the attitude, belief and confidence of his players has started to mimic that of last year’s personnel.
“It’s been a tough start and we didn’t know what to expect because it’s all new to us,” said Wilkes.
“But I’ve sensed a change within the squad. Last year we won the league because I had the best team in the division with individuals working hard for each other. That’s starting to show now as the new lads are buying in to it and the work ethic is through the roof.
“In the last three games or so the players have realised that they can compete at this level which is what I’ve been telling them all season.”
Padiham travel to Stainton Park to face struggling Radcliffe Borough tomorrow in a bid to push on from mid-table. Wilkes would also like to see his side register only their second clean sheet of the campaign.
“I watched them against Curzon Ashton and they were better than I expected,” Wilkes said. “They’re down there in the league but they looked a solid outfit. They ended up getting beat 2-1 but the performance showed that we’ll have to be at our best to get something.”
He added: “I can’t complain with how we’re doing at all. They’ve been fantastic, the crowds are up, and everyone’s enjoying it. All the hard work from last year is paying off.
“However, our biggest aim now is to become tighter as a unit. We’ve only kept one clean sheet all season which came against Lancaster City in our second league game. We’ve really got to stop conceding goals.”
Padiham’s next three league games in November see them pit their wits against sides in and around them in the league. The Storks will take on Mossley and New Mills at the Arbories before culminating the month away at Cammell Laird.
“We’ve got games coming up against teams who are near us in the league so it’s a great chance for us to push on,” said Wilkes.
“We are about as close to the play off places as we are to the relegation spots which shows how bizarre and competitive this league is.”