Padiham boss Steve Wilkes wants his players to rise to the challenge that a potential relegation dogfight poses.
Six successive Evo-Stik First Division North defeats have consigned the Storks to the foot of the table with just New Mills and weekend opponents Prescot Cables for company.
Having won just twice in 20 fixtures ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Valerie Park, Wilkes is hoping his squad can draw inspiration from the Clarets’s recent Premier League revival.
“We are in trouble,” he said. “We’ve played 20 games and won two which is nowhere near good enough. I need someone like Mr Dyche to come down and give the lads a boost. Burnley didn’t win for a while so he knows what it’s like. We’re struggling.
“It’s a massive game on Saturday, a must win game. It’s very tough at the moment and we need a result to change that. It’s huge but I wouldn’t call it season defining because we’ve still got 22 games left. If we lose we will be cut adrift but if we win we could climb off bottom.”
Wilkes helped Padiham gain promotion from the North West Counties Premier Division against the odds in the 2012/13 term. Now he wants his side to defy the odds again and earn a third season in England’s eighth tier.
Wilkes, who saw skipper Martin Parkes (dislocated shoulder) and Louis Mayers (torn ankle ligaments) stretchered off in defeat to Scarborough and striker Ben Allen sent off for a two-footed lunge, said: “The players need to start looking at themselves and I need to see how I can change things.
“The players have got to prove to me that they want to play for Padiham Football Club and that they’re ready to fight for survival.
“We worked so hard to get in to this league; we can’t give it up now. We don’t want to pass by the opportunity of playing at this level. Our form isn’t good enough though so that needs to change.
“The players have got to show character. They need to step up to the plate and show me that they’re good enough to play for Padiham in the First Division North.
“The league is as tough as it has ever been so we need to improve. I want the players to show fight; I want them to show that this is hurting them as much as it’s hurting me.”