Padiham will be the ‘unknown package’ of the Evo-Stik League

Spencer Jordan in action for Barnoldswick Town
Spencer Jordan in action for Barnoldswick Town
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Storks boss Steve Wilkes is hoping his side’s status as the Evo-Stik First Division North’s ‘unknown quantity’ will help them prosper this term.

BetVictor have Padiham as one of the favourites for relegation, while slapping odds of 40/1 for them to be crowned champions on their heads. However, Wilkes is slightly more optimistic.

“Obviously we don’t want to get relegated,” he said. “But I won’t be pressuring my players with any expectations. There’s five places to aim for though so you never know what could happen. That’s what we’ll be working towards.

“Nobody will be expecting much from us which is fine. We’re the unknown quantity but we’ll be as competitive as the next club.”

While Joe Garvin has departed the Arbories, Wilkes has added midfielder Jack Cook from Kendall Town, Kieran Britton from Morecambe, full-back Brent Wood-Townsend from Lancaster City, Lewis and Spencer Jordan from Barnoldswick Town and forward Rob White from Runcorn Town to his squad. Wilkes has also kept hold of prolific striker Ben Allen despite interest from rival clubs.

“It’s all becoming real now,” he added. “Particularly with the fixtures being announced. We’re looking forward to it and we’ll enjoy the experience. We start against my old pal Lee Ashcroft who I worked with at Preston North End. He’s managing Northwich Villa so that will be a strange one. We’re really good friends.”