Storks boss Wilkes looking to shut up shop

Padiham FC V Ashton Athletic FC at The Arbories, Padiham.'Padiham FC (Blue) V Ashton Athletic (Yellow).'Padiham's Manager Steve Wilkes.'22nd August 2015
Padiham FC V Ashton Athletic FC at The Arbories, Padiham.'Padiham FC (Blue) V Ashton Athletic (Yellow).'Padiham's Manager Steve Wilkes.'22nd August 2015

Padiham boss Steve Wilkes has vowed to make changes in a bid to push the club up in the North West Counties Premier Division table.

The Arbories chief has raised concerns over the amount of goals that the Storks are shipping and has accepted that he needs to shape his squad accordingly to rectify that.

Padiham have scored an average of two goals per game so far this term but they’ve managed to negate that attacking threat by conceding 38 goals in 16 league outings.

Wilkes said: “We’ve kept two clean sheets all season which says it all really. One of those was against a free-scoring Colne and the other was in the FA Cup.

“I’m on the look out for defenders because we need to tighten up. You only have to look at the ‘against’ column to see that we are conceding too many goals.

“As a team collectively we just can’t defend and we need to improve on that. It’s still a rebuilding process, there’s still a bit of a hangover from relegation, but we’re still targeting a top six finish. We shouldn’t be languishing in 14th in the table. It’s not good enough.”

Wilkes added: “I have a squad of 23 and I’ll be looking at moving some players on. Ideally I want a squad of between 18 and 20 players. I have a fantastic dressing room at the club, it’s one of the best I’ve had, but we need more than that.”

The Storks leaked three goals against struggling Squires Gate at School Road on Saturday, though Wilkes is taking some responsibility for the demise after introducing Alex Ralph at the expense of Alex Murphy with 20 minutes remaining.

“We had been playing well but we shot ourselves in the foot against Squires Gate,” he said. “I think taking Alex Murphy off probably changed the game. I made the decision with my assistants Steve Pickup and Shaun Astin but I don’t think we should’ve done it.

“I took him off at 2-1 and after that we didn’t create anything. He was involved in both goals, his corners were causing problems all afternoon and he had a couple of chances himself. Within five minutes of the substitution they equalised.”

Wilkes added: “I knew I shouldn’t have taken him off and I take full responsibility for making the substitution. Sometimes you get them right and on Saturday I got it wrong.”

Padiham, who have re-signed Daley Woods from Welsh outfit Mold Alexandra, host West Didsbury & Chorlton on Saturday (kick off 3 p.m.).