Storks boss Steve Wilkes is hoping to give a cohort of Manchester United’s Class of 92 a lesson in football tomorrow.
Salford City, part-owned by Fergie’s Fledglings Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville, are the visitors at the Arbories, kick-off 3 p.m., as top takes on bottom in the Evo-Stik First Division North.
The Ammies, backed by a quintet that boasts 44 Premier League winners medals and eight Champions League medals between them, climbed to the summit after hammering Prescot Cables 6-1 at the weekend while Darlington 1883 lost 4-2 away at Kendal Town.
Wilkes has identified the fixture as the eighth tier version of Chelsea versus Burnley, but he’s taken heart from the result at Stamford Bridge as Sean Dyche’s side earned a point against Jose Mourinho’s Blues.
“That’s what we’re hoping to do on Saturday; ruffle a few feathers,” he said. “We certainly won’t fear them. In terms of the Evo-Stik League it’s a bit like Burnley playing Chelsea with the amount of quality players Salford City have and with the money they’ve spent.
“The ‘Class of 92’ have put a substantial amount of money in to the club but I won’t be comparing finances or player wages when I give my team talk to the squad on Saturday. They’ve got financial power but they need the right players in there.”
Wilkes added: “Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley have done exceptionally well there.
“They’ve won two promotions previously with Ramsbottom which is a great effort. Their record speaks for itself. They’ve taken a lot of players with them to Salford as well who know the division very well.
“In my eyes they are favourites to win the division now. In my opinion they’re a better team than Darlington. It’ll be a bonus if we get anything from the game tomorrow.
“We are under no illusions as to how tough it’s going to be because they are without a shadow of a doubt one of the division’s superpowers.”
In December Gary Neville and Scholes were in attendance as the hosts ran out 5-1 victors at Moor Lane. One-time FA Cup finalist Brett Ormerod, who featured for Southampton against Arsenal at the Millennium Stadium in 2003, was on the scoresheet for Padiham that day.
“When we played them last time Gary Neville was watching with Paul Scholes,” said Wilkes.
“My wife was stood next to them both in the director’s lounge at half-time in the last game. Apparently Neville didn’t realise and couldn’t believe that ‘the’ Brett Ormerod was playing for Padiham.”
Wilkes added: “I used to love watching Scholes play. He was an exceptional player, but they all were. There’s none more decorated than Ryan Giggs. I love listening to Gary Neville’s analysis of games as well. His knowledge is fantastic and he talks a lot of sense.
“The Salford players must love them turning up to training sessions from time to time. We’re in a relegation battle though so I need to take points off them.
“It would be great to get something, but this game won’t define whether we stay up or go down. It’s the nine games that follow which will determine that.”