Free-scoring strikers get glowing review from boss

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Steve Wilkes has paid homage to his free-scoring Storks’ strike-force as the Arbories quartet continue to aid the club’s climb up the North West Counties Premier Division table.

Padiham’s front three of James Dean, Kieron Pickup and Aaron Taylor, who have been ably supplemented by makeshift right winger Marc Coyne, have been in prolific form lately and have contributed significantly to the club’s recent run.

Dean – who joined from Evo-Stik Premier Division side Warrington Town – who he joined from Conference North Chorley in May – has netted 14 times so far this term while his colleagues have 15 goals between them.

That spell has coincided with Padiham’s resurgence as they’ve registered eight wins in their last 10 games in all competitions, winning their last five.

That sequence has them joint top of the form table alongside Atherton Collieries.

Following the 4-2 triumph against Winsford United at the weekend, where his front three scored, Wilkes said: “It’s a much better place than what it was around six weeks ago. There’s a real buzz around the camp now and we’re looking forward to football matches.

“Players like Garry Hunter have returned from injury and he’s been immense.

“James Dean has scored 14 goals in 14 games; he’s been getting all the headlines recently and rightly so. He’s doing his job well.

“My two centre halves, Marc Young and Brandon Barski, have been outstanding too. So much so that our captain Martin Parkes can’t get back into the team.”

Wilkes added: “Kieron Pickup has also given us a boost after returning to action and Mark Coyne, who has been playing wide right, has been doing a fantastic job as well.

“I’ve always liked having four strikers but, at this level in-particular, it can be difficult to keep them all happy. They’re all contributing and scoring goals.

“Aaron Taylor has scored three in as many games now. When you throw all that into the mix it shows how strong our side is.”

Meanwhile, Wilkes believes tomorrow’s FA Vase second round tie against Bootle on home soil will act as a barometer as to how far the club has progressed.

Ahead of the tie, which kicks off at 3 p.m. at the Arbories, Wilkes said: “We are on a decent run and we want to keep winning games.

“There’s no bigger game than the one that is coming up on Saturday.

“Bootle have won their last two away games 6-0 and 7-1 so we’re under no illusions as to what kind of task we face.

“They beat us 3-0 at home in September so this will be a good marker to gauge where we are.