Wilkes dumbfounded by change of fortunes

North West Counties football action from Padiham (pale blue) v 1974 Northwich.
Padiham Manager Steve Wilkes takes issue with a comment from the crowd after his side go 4 down within half an hour.  PIC BY ROB LOCK
2-4-2016
North West Counties football action from Padiham (pale blue) v 1974 Northwich. Padiham Manager Steve Wilkes takes issue with a comment from the crowd after his side go 4 down within half an hour. PIC BY ROB LOCK 2-4-2016

Padiham boss Steve Wilkes has been left flummoxed by the sudden change in his side’s form.

The Storks started the season positively with victory in the FA Cup and seven points from their opening three fixtures in the Hallmark Security Premier Division while conceding just once in that spell.

However, the Arbories outfit have since slipped to 16th in the league and exited the country’s most revered competition having lost five games in succession after shipping 13 times in that sequence.

Wilkes, whose side has been breached eight times in the last two outings, said: “It’s bizarre because we started the season really well.

“The problem at that point was that we couldn’t score enough goals, though. We were nicking games and the forward line that we had was never going to win us the league.”

To address that issue, Wilkes drafted in prolific striker James Dean who scored twice on his debut in defeat to Ashton Athletic.

The Storks have also been bolstered by the additions of Joe Whittington, Mark Coyne and Kenny Taylor, who faces six weeks on the sidelines after being stretchered off against Runcorn Linnets.

“Kieron Pickup isn’t back from France until October and Sean Cookson is off to America so we had to recruit,” said Wilkes.

“We got forwards in, including a great signing in James Dean, but then the defence went AWOL. We’ve lost five games on the bounce now..

“I’m not panicking yet but I am feeling a bit of pressure. I’m disappointed with where we are, just three points above the relegation zone, but there’s still 35 games remaining.”

He added: “The problem is that we only lost five games throughout the entire season when we last won the league and we’ve already lost four.

“We need something dramatic to happen from now until the end of the season. We are a new side with good players who I still think need time to gel.

“We haven’t settled yet but, saying that, performance levels haven’t been anywhere near where they should be. Players are making far too many individual errors.

“It’s not just the defenders, it’s happening all over the pitch at the moment. They’re proving to be crucial errors.”

Padiham host Hanley Town at the Arbories on Saturday, with kick-off at 3 p.m.