FORMER Burnley striker Andy Payton has been tipped to be the new Padiham manager, but Storks secretary Alan Smith insists the club are keeping an open mind in the search for Craig Chadwick’s successor.

Padiham this week parted company with their manager of two years, on the grounds of footballing differences.

Payton, dubbed the Padiham Predator during his five-year spell with the Clarets, is fancied for the role.

He is currently manager of Burnley Grammar School Old Boys, but laid on a few coaching sessions for his hometown team on a voluntary basis last season.

Despite the connections, however, Smith insists Padiham will consider all applications, after advertising their vacant managerial post.

“We are open minded about who the next manager will be. It would be a tough job for whoever came in,” said the Storks’ secretary, who has thanked Chadwick for his service to the club, as both player and manager.

“He has been a player and a captain and has been in charge of the team for two years,” he continued.

“We over-achieved last season and finished fourth, which was our highest North West Counties League position.

“Through no fault of Craig’s the start of the season was difficult because we lost players through injury and the team was depleted.

“We were disappointed in a sense that we only achieved 51 points, although it was a total that would allow us to stay in the league, which is what we are all about first and foremost.

“We’re not expecting to win the league, but some of the players he brought in weren’t up to the same standard.

“It was a very hard decision to make to part company with Craig but the issue has been a disagreement on how we move forward with regard to team selection.

“He hasn’t let us down in anything he has done, but the board felt it was right we had a change of manager.”