WHEN you’re struggling to keep a clean sheet the league leaders, leading scorers and your local rivals are probably the last team you want to face.

But that’s what awaits Padiham tomorrow when they make the short trip to Colne.


Steve Wilkes’ side have shipped 34 goals in their opening 15 games of the season – only AFC Darwen have conceded more – while Colne have found the net 45 times in 14 games. Four of those came in Steve Cunningham’s side midweek win over Darwen on Wednesday night when a Danny Boyle brace, Jason Hart strike and a Chris Anderson goal saw the Reds to a 4-0 win.

Boyle and Hart now have 27 goals between them this season and Wilkes is under no illusions how tough it will be for his side on Saturday afternoon.

“Danny and Jason both used to play for me at Padiham as did Ben Allen, Kenny Taylor, Dominic Craig and Michael Morrison. I think there are seven or eight in total that are there so the game will have an edge.

“But we want to start keeping clean sheets, we’ve only kept one in the league all season, but if we can keep one against Colne perhaps it will kickstart the season.”

Wilkes admits he is frustrated by his side’s defensive frailties and insists he and the squad have been working hard on the training ground to rectify the problem.

“I think it is a concentration thing more than anything else,” said Wilkes. “I am sick of conceding a goal in the third minute or the 45th minute or the 47th minute. We just need to make sure we stay switched on. It starts from the front and I have said since the start of the season that we have to concentrate on keeping clean sheets. We conceded more than 100 goals last season.

“I do think we are suffering a bit of a relegation hangover at the moment. We are not good enough all over the park and are lacking a bit of quality.

“We should be a top six team.”

Wilkes also wants to taste success over one of his East Lancashire rivals for the first time this season having lost the reverse fixture 3-1 and also tasted two defeats against Barnoldswick Town and one to Nelson so far this season.

“It’s about time we won a derby,” said Wilkes.

“It will be a great game, there is a bit of an edge and it is one to look forward to.”

Padiham will be without injured top scorer Keiron Pickup who misses out with a hamstring strain.

Elsewhere, Nelson are in action tonight when they make the trip to Silsden for Friday night football.

A win for Mark Fell’s men could take them fourth ahead of tomorrow’s matches.

Darwen will be hoping to bounce back from their 4-0 defeat to Colne when they travel to Maine Road while Barnoldswick Town are away at 1874 Northwich.

Bacup Borough are in Reusch First Division Cup First Round action when they visit Chadderton.

Brent Peters’ side are unbeaten in three games and go into the cup clash on the back of a 1-1 midweek draw at home to Stockport Town.

Thomas Black put the hosts in front eight minutes into the second half but Ruben Abreu ensured it finished all square when he levelled on 71 minutes.