Winds of change sweeping through Ruby Civil Arena

Bamber Bridge FC (white) v Morecambe FC (red). Daniel Agyai thwarted by keeper Marcus Burgess. Picture by Paul Heyes, Tuesday July 12, 2016.
Bamber Bridge FC (white) v Morecambe FC (red). Daniel Agyai thwarted by keeper Marcus Burgess. Picture by Paul Heyes, Tuesday July 12, 2016.

The winds of change are blowing through the Ruby Civil Arena after joint boss Liam Smith conceded that Padiham’s recent performances hadn’t been up to scratch.

The former Colne FC assistant, who replaced Steve Wilkes at the helm alongside Dixon Lambert, has already transformed his squad in recent days but it seems that is just the beginning.

Goalkeeper Marcus Burgess has been signed on a duel registration from Prescot Cables while Wes Benjamin, Tom Williams and Alex Wood have all joined.

Meanwhile, the club has parted company with defender Luke Holden while Stockport County stopper Dane Smith has returned to Edgeley Park.

“There’s going to be a vast number of incomings and outgoings,” he confirmed. “There will be a lot of changes. We’ve signed Marcus Burgess on a duel registration and we’ve added Wes Benjamin, Tom Williams and Alex Wood.

“Over the next few days we’ll be adding three or four more as well. Luke Holden has left the club and Dane Smith has returned to Stockport. That’s just the start.”

The Storks advanced to the third round of the Macron Cup midweek after finally getting the go ahead to play their tie against AFC Darwen.

An own goal gave the home side the lead at the Arbories just seconds before the interval before Karl Turner levelled in the 71st minute. However, Spencer Jordan sent Padiham through with a strike six minutes from time.

“We won the game,” said Smith. “I might sound a bit harsh but recently performances have fallen way short of our expectations.

“That’s no disrespect to Darwen, I thought they deserved to win the tie on the night. Maybe going a few weeks without playing due to the weather hasn’t helped.

“Recent performances haven’t been acceptable and I was embarassed walking off the pitch. It’s got to change quickly.

“We’ve just fallen short in games and we’ve not been able to control them. We’ve had some positive results but games have been too open and too stretched. We need to address that and put it right.”

The Storks entertain title-chasing Runcorn Town on Saturday, who are four points off the summit, and Smith believes that situation will play in to the home side’s hands.

He said: “We want to finish as high as we can in the league because promotion is out of our reach. We just want to keep our season alive and build for next year.

“Players will need to earn their shirt. We want to stay competitive, aim for the top five, and players will hopefully want it enough to be a part of something exciting next year.

“We’ve got a tendency to raise our game against the better teams. Sometimes we get a bit complacent against the teams below us. I’m expecting a good performance.

“They have to beat us. They started the season really well but now they’re five points adrift of Runcorn Linnets.

“The pressure is on them because they’ve got to come here and beat us. Potentially that will suit us. It should be an interesting game.”