Wilkes praises Padiham ambition

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STORKS boss Steve Wilkes has praised the ambition shown by Padiham Football Club.

Arbories secretary Alan Smith has confirmed that the club is formerly applying to the Football Association to be considered for promotion to step four in the non-league structure should the Storks secure top spot in the NWC Premier Division.

Padiham are currently seventh with 32 points, though have several games in hand on the teams around them in the table.

The club will also be looking at ground improvements to reach the required ‘E’ ground grading.

The Arbories Memorial Sports Ground currently has a grading one below the necessary level.

“It does make things quite real,” declared Wilkes.

“The club is submitting its applications to the FA and that just shows the ambition of the club.

“That’s why I came back.

“The infrastructure is there and this club wants to go places.

“I want to progress and so does Padiham Football Club so we are a good match.”

However, Padiham’s remarkable for this term has been temporarily stunted by the wintry weather conditions.

The Storks have seen two fixtures against Bacup Borough postponed, as well as games against Wilkes’s former club Runcorn Linnets and Silsden.

Even tomorrow’s clash at home to Stockport Sports, scheduled to kick-off at 3 p.m., is already in doubt.

Wilkes’s men had embarked on a nine-game unbeaten run before suffering a 2-1 defeat to Alsager Town and they’re desperate to put that right.

“Even tomorrow’s game is in doubt,” said Wilkes.

“We just want the chance to rectify our last defeat, we’re determined to put things right.

“We’ve had four games called off in the last week or so.

“These games will have to be replayed so they’re threatening a fixture pile-up which is something we could do without.

“Teams are starting to pull away in terms of games, with some already playing 18, 19 or 20 games.

“We are playing catch-up.

“We need to start playing football matches and winning them.

“It’s a tough, frustrating situation to be in and we don’t want to be in that boat.

“We need the weather to pick up.

“You can’t legislate games for training, it’s a nightmare.”

Wilkes believes tomorrow’s opponents will prove an unknown quantity after manager Peter Withe recently departed from the club.

But, should the game be given the green light, Wilkes is confident of success if his players focus on their own game and stick to their proven strengths.

“Their manager, Peter Withe, who is an England and Aston Villa legend, has just stepped down so it’s one of those,” Wilkes said.

“He’d put together a young side and added a bit of foreign flair.

They play on a 4G surface so they like to get the ball down and pass it about.

“Our pitch might not suit them if it’s wet and muddy.

“It’s a strange one because we don’t know whether players have stayed at the club or gone.

“It will be a tough game but we just need to concentrate on our own game.

“I’m confident of getting a result.”

l PADIHAM Football Club’s annual Sportsmans Dinner will take place on Thursday, November 29th at the 1882 Lounge at Turf Moor.

Former England and Arsenal star Paul Merson will be the guest speaker for the event, Andy Ashworth will be the MC for the evening and the pair will be joined by comedian Josh Daniels. For ticket information contact Alan Smith on 07775 717698.

PICTURE: Kenny Taylor in action against Daisy Hill at the Arbories.