Wilkes wants players to do it for ‘Mr Padiham’

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Storks boss Steve Wilkes knows his players won’t need any extra motivation to put in a performance against league leaders Runcorn Linnets tomorrow.

With club secretary Alan Smith recovering from a stroke which he suffered on Sunday, the Arbories chief is confident that his players will dig deep to get a result for ‘Mr Padiham’.

The 60-year-old father-of-one, who has been involved with the North West Counties outfit for almost 25 years, is currently being cared for at the Royal Blackburn Hospital.

“It would be nice to do it for Alan,” said Wilkes. “The support we’ve had from individuals and clubs has been phenomenal. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by it all. Everybody has been fantastic.

“We’ll definitely be going out there and doing it for him. Hopefully we can get a result that might make him feel a bit better.

“He’s making a little bit of progress, it’s obviously small steps, but fingers crossed he keeps making that improvement.

“Everybody knows what Alan is all about and what this club means to him. He’s Padiham Football Club through and through.

“All the lads will want to win football matches for Alan, on Saturday and for the rest of the season.”

Meanwhile, Wilkes himself won’t require any additional ammunition to try and derail the table toppers’ title chase.

The one-time Preston North End midfielder was sacked by the Cheshire club in controversial circumstances in 2010 after two years in charge.

The club had made an unbeaten start to the campaign, and progressed in the FA Cup after beating Maine Road in a replay, but he was relieved of his role and replaced by Paul McNally.

I’m looking forward to going back there,” he said. “I would love to return and throw a spanner in the works. I don’t need any extra motivation for the weekend at all.

“I’ll use that as my drive because I want to prove a point. I’ve already done that once by winning the league but I really want to beat them.

Wilkes added: “It will be a tough game because they are top of the league for a reason. But we’ve done okay against the top sides and we showed what we’re capable of in the cup tie against Lancaster City.

“We’ll need to hit those high standards again. We’ve just got to start winning football matches again. Three points will give everyone the confidence we need.”