STORKS boss Steve Wilkes has dedicated his Manager of the Month accolade to everyone involved at the Arbories.
The Padiham boss guided the club in to the New Year in second place in the NWC Premier Division after a perfect run of results in December.
The Storks claimed league victories over Wigan Robin Park, Stone Dominoes, Ashton Athletic and Barnoldswick Town - scoring 13 and conceding once in that sequence of fixtures - as well as booking their spot in the semi-final of the Lancashire Challenge Trophy with a 3-2 triumph over Evo-Stik First Division North side Bamber Bridge.
“Christmas and New Year got even better because I won the North West Counties Premier Division Manager of the Month award for December,” smiled Wilkes. “But the accolade isn’t just about me, it’s a massive team effort.
“I woke up and my phone had gone mad with players congratulating me. I just replied with a message saying that it may be my name on the trophy but it’s the lads that deserve the credit and the pats on the back because they’re the ones doing the business on the pitch.”
Wilkes added: “It is a very nice award though. The backroom staff also deserve recognition and it’s as much reward for all their hard work as it is for myself. Everyone deserves a lot of credit. It’s great recognition and a lovely way to end the year. I hope I win it this month and the month after because it means we’ll be winning games. It’s great for the club and a nice honour.”
Padiham’s top of the table clash with Maine Road was postponed due to the inclement weather, meaning the club culminated 2012 with an impressive win against local rivals Barnoldswick Town. Wilkes claimed it was one of his side’s best performances of the season.
“We’re halfway through the season now so there’s a long way to go,” declared Wilkes. “We certainly won’t be getting carried away because part of our success has been down to keeping our feet firmly on the ground. Christmas went well because we beat Barnoldswick in what was one of our best performances to date.
“The pitch was a mess but we adapted to the conditions well. We even hit the woodwork three times. Everyone gave everything up until the 90th minute when we were 3-0 up. That typified the display for me, the fact they were throwing their bodies on the line for the cause when the game was practically won. Barnoldswick are a strong side and have some very good players. They’ll be there or thereabouts come the final stretch so we were very happy with the result.”
Padiham’s first test of 2013, weather permitting, will see them face struggling AFC Liverpool on home soil on Saturday, kick-off 3 p.m. However, Wilkes won’t be underestimating his opposition as the Storks look to continue their rich vein of form.
“It will be a tough game against AFC Liverpool,” Wilkes said. “Their league position might not suggest that but they did us a favour by beating an in-form Bootle side on Boxing Day. It will be a tough test on a difficult surface but we are looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, Wilkes has swooped to land the signature of Ramsbottom United forward Ryan Moore who will go straight in to the squad for Saturday’s game.