Strength in depth key for in-form Padiham

STRENGTH IN DEPTH: Lloyd Balazs
STRENGTH IN DEPTH: Lloyd Balazs

VODKAT North West Counties manager of the month for January Craig Chadwick believes that strength in depth has been the contributing factor in Padiham FC’s change of fortune.

However, since a 3-2 defeat to rivals Barnoldswick Town in October Padiham have gone on to pick up 23 points from a possible 30 in the Premier Division, which has seen them advance to eighth in the table.

But that record has come as no surprise for Chadwick: “Some people may say it’s come as a surprise, but we knew it would take time to build the squad we wanted.

“We’ve got strength in depth now; last time I had Michael Morrison, Lee Kershaw, Paul Fildes, Chris Ridehaulgh and Lloyd Balazs on the bench.

“They have all been regulars in the first team and are experienced players at North West Counties level, so to turn around and see those players on the bench just shows how far we’ve come.

“Everyone knows there’s a strong competition for places now.”

He added: “At the start of the season, and up to a couple of months ago, we were looking to finish above 10th, though it looked like it was going to be a struggle.

“But now we are in a position where we are looking to push on and exceed those early targets.

“Now we’ve closed the gap on the teams above us and now we are determined to climb further up the league.”

Padiham play host to Maine Road tomorrow, with a 3 p.m. kick-off at the Arbories.

But the Storks boss will be forced in to testing that strength of depth as he will be without the services of defensive trio John Blakeley, Ben Hoskin and January’s player of the month Keiron Fletcher.

“It’s a shame it’s worked out like that,” Chadwick said.

“Maine Road have been a bit hit and miss but they are a young side, fit and like to get the ball down and play football so it should be an attractive game.

“As long as we do what we are capable of there shouldn’t be a problem.”

And after receiving his award Chadwick added: “I’m chuffed to bits with it really.

“It’s been a long time coming to pull our form together and get to where we want to be.

“It’s a great reward for all of us for all the hard work and effort we’ve put in.

“We knew we were in with a shout because we’ve had some good results but we’re delighted with it.”