Steve Wilkes has confirmed that his job as Padiham FC manager is secure after holding emergency talks at the Arbories.
The former Preston North End midfielder was joined by assistant boss Steve Pickup for meetings with chairman Frank Hayes, secretary Alan Smith and the remainder of the club’s committee to discuss the future of the Storks.
I would never walk away. My heart belongs here!Steve Wilkes
The 47-year-old, in his second spell at the club having been at Runcorn Linnets and Ashton Athletic previously, guided the Storks to the North West Counties Premier Division title in the 2012/13 term.
However, after surviving a year in the eighth tier of the English football pyramid, Padiham were relegated from the Evo-Stik First Division North after finishing bottom last season.
“It’s been a strange four weeks,” declared Wilkes. “I’ve had so many different emotions. Everyone associated with the club is very disappointed that we got relegated.
“One or two things were said. It got quite heated at times. I just want to move this football club forward because my heart belongs here.”
Wilkes added: “I would never walk away from this club, especially now that I’ve got a point to prove. Nobody wants a relegation on their CV. Nobody likes experiencing it.
“We want to try and get back from where we’ve just come from. It’s going to be very difficult, even more so with teams potentially seeing us as one of the big guns now.”
Wilkes has lost Dominic Craig to rivals Colne, managed by former Arbories number two Steve Cunningham, while Danny Wilkins has joined Kendal Town.
While Wilkes is working hard to add to his playing staff, the club has installed Chris Hall as the new youth team manager while Chris Price has been appointed as the reserve team manager.
“I’ll get a squad together that’s good enough to compete at this level and we’ll see where that takes us,” said Wilkes.
“I’d like to think that we’ll be pushing for the top four or five but I’m not going to put pressure on ourselves by saying that we’re going to win it. That’s a huge statement in this division.
“We’ve got our targets and I’d like to bring in half-a-dozen ideally.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge now. We’ve won it once and we’ll give it our best shot again.”
Padiham have scheduled a friendly against Longridge on July 18th.