Storks boss Steve Wilkes admits that the club’s league position is a major concern, particularly with last season’s relegation still fresh on the mind.
Padiham have lost more than half of their 19 North West Counties Premier Division outings to date and they currently languish in 18th position as a result, just six points clear of the drop zone.
The Arbories chief believes his side are seen as a scalp this term following their stint in the Evo-Stik First Division North, and feels that his players need to rise to the challenge of playing under the magnifying glass.
“It’s a shock,” he said. “Going home after the Abbey Hey defeat and seeing us in 18th spot and six points clear of the relegation zone was a shock. We’ve got a squad that is more than capable of finishing in the top six but results aren’t reflecting that at the moment.
“I’ve got a good bunch of lads and a good dressing room but that doesn’t get you points.
“We’re a target this year, teams are fired up to play us because we were in the Evo-Stik League last year and we’ve not matched that.
“The lads need to adapt to that and address it. The players need to take responsibility and show improvement.
“It is a worry, it has to be. I’m confident that we’ll end up nowhere near the bottom three but we need to put some wins together to get away from the relegation zone.
“You don’t get relegated in November though and I’m still backing us to finish in the top six. At the minute it’s obviously a big worry for everyone at the club after getting relegated last year.”
The Storks are averaging just under two goals per game at present, but they’ve kept just one clean sheet in the league all term and have conveyed an alarming inconsistency in form.
Wilkes, whose side doesn’t play until November 28th when they entertain Runcorn Town in the MEN United Cup third round, said: “It’s all about the consistency factor and we’ve not had that all season.
“Bar one change, the same side that won 5-1 away at Atherton LR went on to lose against Abbey Hey. We’ve won two games back-to-back all season and kept two clean sheets which tells you everything you need to know.
“Last season we knew we’d probably be involved in a battle to stay up. We expected that. But we shouldn’t be anywhere near that this year.
“Our next four league games are tough as well, but we’re only a win away from 13th. It’s a different complexion then. We just need to string some wins together.”