Smith eyes Storks success

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Newly appointed joint Padiham manager Liam Smith has drawn out the blueprints for what he believes will bring a successful era at the Arbories.

The former Colne FC assistant was handed the role at the end of August following the departure of long-serving boss Steve Wilkes and he’ll rule the roost alongside Dixon Lambert.

The pair have already implemented a new managerial model at the club, replicating the structure that proved prosperous during their time with the Reds.

Having worked alongside Steve Cunningham as a trio at the Utility Renewals Stadium, winning promotion to the Evo-Stik First Division North and subsequently securing a play-off spot, the newcomers have introduced a third musketeer.

One-time Nelson FC boss, who had previously helped the club’s development squad flourish, will add his expertise to the project at Well Street.

“We’ve been very successful over the past four seasons between the three of us,” said Smith. “We’ve all been the best of friends and hopefully that will continue.

“Steve (Cunningham) has been on the phone every day and he’s trying to help us. We want to work with each other rather than against each other.

“He’s a great motivator and man manager and we’ve taken a lot from him. We like that model as a three and that’s why we’re delighted to have brought Al Norwood in with us.

“It’s been a successful model for us and you won’t find a harder working management team. We’ll constantly be watching teams and players.

“It worked at Colne so we want to replicate that model. Al has got experience and a good knowledge of the game and he’s a perfect addition for us.”

The new kids on the block have also devised a prototype for the players that they’ll be looking to add to the dressing room.

The returning Kenny Taylor mirrors that mould and the striker has been joined by goalkeeper Danny Lever and defender Adam Stockdale.

Taylor, who had enjoyed a previous spell with the Storks, netted a phenomenal strike on his debut in a 5-1 triumph over Burscough at Victoria Park.

Brandon Barski and Kieron Pickup extended the lead before Alexander Parkes cut the deficit for the home side from the spot.

However, Dominic Craig and Ben Hoskin made it a night to remember for their new bosses as they got off the mark.

“It was a good welcome back to the club for Kenny Taylor,” said Smith, who worked in the community department for both Accrington Stanley and Preston North End. “He found the top corner with a volley from 35 yards out. That set the precedent and we were brilliant after that.

“He’s a Padiham lad and that’s the type of player that we’re looking to bring in. We want to get the best local talent in to the club.

“We want to bring that type of relatability to the club, that kind of buzz and ownership.

“We’re looking to bring a few more in who I feel can really push us on. We want young and hungry local players because we’re really keen to drive that community feel in to the club.”

The duo will take charge of their first game on home soil tomorrow when Thackley pay a visit in the first qualifying round of the FA Vase.

“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind,” Smith said. “We spoke to Padiham and it all happened so quickly. As soon as we sat down with the committee and the chairman, Shaun Astin, we knew that it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

“We’ve always wanted to test ourselves in management and Padiham has always been a club that we’ve admired. It was a ‘no-brainer’ for us.

“We want to set them up and steady the ship. Steve Wilkes has done an incredible job over the years, he’s had a lot of success, and he’s definitely a tough act to follow.

“We want to be as successful as possible. We’re full of ideas that we want to implement but first and foremost we want to try and win every game that we play.

“We want to build a successful team that can challenge so we can finish as high as possible. We want to breed the winning mentality that we have as a management team.”