Storks boss Wilkes relieved to see the back of barren November

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Storks boss Steve Wilkes has voiced concern over the sinking morale at the Arbories - citing it’s the lowest he’s experienced since returning to the club.

Padiham are 19th in the Northern Premier League First Division North, and have only been spared being dragged in to further turmoil by the lacklustre form of teams below.

While the Storks hit a blank for November - with defeats to Farsley, Mossley, New Mills and Cammell Laird - Wakefield suffered an identical fate from five fixtures, Radcliffe Borough won once, and basement side Ossett Albion took a single point from a possible 15.

Ahead of tomorrow’s game against Northwich Victoria on home soil, kick off 3 p.m., Wilkes said: “It’s not good.

“The confidence and morale of the players is the lowest it’s been since I came back to the club so now we’ve got to pick that up.

“We’ve got another tough game tomorrow versus Northwich Victoria against my mate Lee Ashcroft.

“At the minute myself and my assistant Danny Craig can’t put our finger on what’s going wrong. We are playing well but we’re not getting the breaks.

“I think the players are starting to feel the pressure and they’re getting punished for every little mistake that they make.”

Wilkes added: “At Darwen we went about 17 games without a win.

“We had zero finances and a limited squad so it’s not the toughest situation I’ve been in.

“But this is the hardest standard I’ve competed at and it’s still a learning curve so I guess this period will show just how good a manager I am.

“It’s a challenge but in times of adversity lies opportunity.

“The good thing about the weekend is that the three teams below us didn’t win.

“We need to get some points on the board, then we’ll get our confidence back and start moving away from the bottom end.

“We need to put that smile back on everybody’s face but as a club I’m confident that we’ll turn the corner.

“We’re probably two or three years ahead of where we should be so now we need to consolidate and stay in this division. I’m so glad that November is out of the way now though.”

One positive note for Wilkes at the moment is the performance and potential of his respective goalkeepers at the club. While reserve team stopper Marcus Burgess, who trains with Premier League side Everton twice a week, was sponsored by former Manchester United winger Lee Sharpe during the sportsman’s dinner held at Turf Moor last week, Wilkes praised the dazzling display of Sean Davis following defeat at the weekend.

“Sean Davis was in unbelievable form,” he said. “They weren’t just routine saves he was making, some of them were outstanding. He was brilliant and we wouldn’t have been able to complain if we’d have conceded six by half-time.

“We did create our own chances as well, but Sean was absolutely phenomenal. I’m delighted for him as well because his confidence had been hit a bit. He’s endured suspension, injury and has made mistakes so he’s had a hard time of it. Even their manager, Tony Sullivan, tweeted that it was one of the best goalkeeping performances he’s seen at this level.”

Over the course of December, Padiham travel to Seel Park to take on Mossley on December 14th, they then host Ossett Albion a week later, before facing rivals Clitheroe at Shawbridge on Boxing Day, and rounding off 2013 at Valerie Park against Prescot Cables.

Padiham then bring in the New Year with a home game versus Ramsbottom United.