JOINT Padiham manager Liam Smith insists his Storks side will be taking the Lancashire Challenge Trophy seriously as they target a place in the last four.

Smith and Dixon Lambert have guided Padiham to seventh in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division after a fine run of form which has seen them beaten just once in eight games.

And with the busy festive period just around the corner and the Storks attempting to close the 11-point gap to leaders Runcorn Town they could be forgiven for shifting their focus away from the Trophy.

But Smith wants to win it.

He said: “The tie is one that we are really looking forward to.

“The semi-finals are at the County Ground in Leyland and even they have the feel of a final about them.

“The final is then at the Macron Stadium in Bolton and we have seen that teams from our level can go and win it as Ashton Athletic proved last year.

“The competition is a real platform for players and it would be great to bring some silverware to Padiham because it has been a while since they won something.

“We are really looking forward to it and the aim is win tomorrow night and then see who we get in the last four.”

But it will be a tough test for Padiham against a Charnock side who have lost just twice in the league this season and sit three places and three points above Smith and Dixon’s men in the league table.

“We know what to expect from Charnock Richard, they are a big physical side and they are going well in the league,” added Smith.

“They will want to make their mark in this competition as well so both teams will be looking at it thinking they can reach the semi-finals.”

The Storks bosses may look to rotate their squad but Smith does not believe any potential changes will weaken the starting XI.

He added: “We have got some players who have been very patient in waiting for their chance and they might get an opportunity.

“But we have a good squad of 16 or 17 players who have a real depth and we are fortunate that if we did make changes then the players who come in are more than capable of stepping up to the plate.”

Padiham go into the game on the back of a battling 2-1 away win at Northwich Victoria last time out which made it eight games unbeaten on their travels and the fifth time they have won a game in their last six matches after falling behind.

“Our away form has been really good and we want to transfer that into the Charnock Richard game tonight,” added Smith.

“Our next challenge is to bring that form to our own ground and try and make it a bit of a fortress.

“But we are going well at the moment and confidence is high, we will just keep taking it one game at a time and see where it takes us.”

Meanwhile, AFC Darwen’s Hallmark Security League Premier Division trip to West Didsbury & Chorlton last night was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Elsewhere tonight, First Division side Nelson travel to Prestwich Heys in a Macron Cup second round tie.

Tonight’s Lancashire Challenge Trophy quarter final ties: Padiham v Charnock Richard, Bamber Bridge v Chorley, Clitheroe v Radcliffe Borough. Tomorrow: AFC Darwen v Lancaster City