Steve Wilkes is backing the Storks to embark on another unbeaten stretch that will heighten the pressure on the title contenders in the Hallmark Security Premier Division.
Padiham have lost just two league games in just over three months, both at the hands of Atherton Collieries, with the latest bringing an end to a run that had returned 31 points from 11 fixtures.
The visitors were a goal ahead at the Arbories in the sixth minute when Jake Kenny capitalised on Alex Murphy’s mistake, a lead which they took in to the break.
Jamie Forbes converted from a corner with just shy of 20 minutes remaining to double the advantage before Dominic Craig pulled a goal back late on.
However, as the hosts pressed for an equaliser, Jordan Cover secured the points for the away side with a stoppage time penalty.
“We’ve gone three months without getting beat and we’ve got to do that again now,” said Wilkes. “This will be a good test of character for us.
“I’ve got a good squad now, it’s the most professional squad that I’ve had in a long time. I know they will have been hurting as much as I was after that defeat.
“We missed that chance to claw some ground back and it just makes that gap a little bit bigger now.
“The table is going to keep changing though because all the teams at the top have still got to play each other.
“We’ve got to start another run now and if we can do that we won’t be far away.
“It’s going to be hard but we’re still in there with a chance, even if it takes another big unbeaten run. We are capable of doing that.”
Padiham entertain Irlam tomorrow where they’ll hope to return to winning ways at the first attempt.
Steve Nixon’s side, who earned a 1-1 draw earlier in the season, have been inconsistent so far, winning nine of their 23 outings to date with seven stalemates and as many losses.
“They came up last year and they’ve had some mixed results,” Wilkes said. “We drew 1-1 with them earlier in the season though Marc Young had a goal disallowed with two minutes to go which was clearly over the line.
“They are all tough games in this league; it doesn’t matter who you play.”
Kick off at the Arbories is 3 p.m.