PADIHAM boss Steve Wilkes hopes his side can find their North West Counties League form in time to reach the final of the Lancashire Challenge Trophy.

The Storks secured an impressive 3-0 win at Cammell Laird on Saturday to register back to back victories for the first time this season and climb to 16th in the table ahead of a Christmas derby double header against AFC Darwen on Boxing Day and Nelson on Saturday week.


And, after his side were paired with Evo-Stik League First Division North outfit Lancaster City in the last four of the trophy yesterday, Wilkes wants to extend that winning feeling.

“We have got three of our next four games against sides below us and it is an opportunity to string some results together and build some form ahead of the semi-final,” said Wilkes, who declared himself happy with the draw after avoiding holders and favourites Chorley – who will instead travel to Colne.

Wilkes added: “We didn’t want Chorley, they are the strongest side in the competition so we were hoping for Colne or Lancaster.

“But I am sure all the other three teams wanted to play us as we are 16th in the North West Counties League.

“We are happy with the draw. It is a great opportunity for our players and it is a chance for the club to go and reach the final of the competition and play at the Macron Stadium.

“Three years ago we got to this stage and lost to Bacup. That proved to be a blessing in disguise because we went on to win the league but this season we want to be in that final. We are not going to win the league and we want to make sure we can extend our season.

“Hopefully by the time it comes around we will be in good form and can go and cause a shock. It is a one-off cup game and I know that I have a strong squad.

“We will start as underdogs but all the pressure will be on Lancaster. We can go there and try to play good football and get the right result.

“It would be fantastic for a club like Padiham to reach the final.”

Meanwhile, Colne, whose side are third in the North West Counties League Premier Division, will be relishing the challenge of taking on National League North side Chorley in the other semi-final.

The Reds are one of the favourites for the title this season after a strong start to the campaign while Chorley are down in 13th place after a stop-start season under Matt Jansen.

But the Magpies have a strong history in this competition having claimed their 16th tournament success last season when they defeated Clitheroe in the final.

Both semi-finals will take place at the County Ground in Leyland with Colne entertaining Chorley on Tuesday, February 9 before Padiham take on Lancaster on Tuesday, February 23.

Both matches will kick off at 7.45pm.

The final is due to be played at Bolton Wanderers’ Macron Stadium.