ADAM Morning enjoyed 16 years playing on the non- league circuit and thought he had seen it all but nothing prepared him for the step in to management.

It is coming up to a year since Morning and Michael Morrison took over as joint managers at Padiham and the 32-year-old – who played out his career with the Storks – admits it has been a real eye-opener.

“I was warned about it and told what to expect but I have to admit, it has been a lot harder than I thought,” said Morning who won a league title while at Skelmersdale United and was a part of the high-profile Salford City side that climbed the divisions. “I consider myself an experienced non-league player but nothing prepared me for taking the step in to management.

“It was a real eye opener and basically we were learning on the job and, to a certain extent, we still are.

“That said, I am really enjoying it. I love it!”

Morning and Morrison took over from Liam Smith and Dixon Lambert last Christmas following a poor run of results and did well to keep the Storks in the NWCL Premier Division.

The pair tried to rebuild in the summer, basically bringing in an entire new squad but Morning admits it didn’t quite work.

“We desperately needed to improve the quality in the squad and brought in 14 or 15 new players,” said Morning. “But it didn’t quite work. Performances did improve but results didn’t and we are in a results business.”

But more recent acquisitions in Richie Baker, Brad Knox, on loan from Colne, and Burnley FC youngster Finn Armstong – also on a temporary deal – has seen a marked improvement. The Storks, who travel to Rylands in the second round of the Macron Cup tomorrow (Saturday), are unbeaten in their last three games including a 3-3 draw at Runcorn Town and a 2-0 win over Hanley Town in the league.

“We were desperate for those results,” added Morning. “We were unlucky not to win at Runcorn and beating Hanley was a big boost. The three new players have added some much needed quality.

“The problem now is that there are teams having a look at Richie and trying to prise him away. That is what happens at this level, you sign a decent player and clubs come trying to cherry pick them away.”

Morning says he is happy to have Morrison alongside him in the dugout although he admits they are something of an odd couple.

“We weren’t particularly big mates playing together at Padiham but as managers, it works,” said Morning who knows what it is like to work under ‘a two’ having been at Salford with Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley.

“We were both very different types of players on the pitch and I think our managerial styles are different as well.

“Michael was a non-league dog, heading and kicking everyone. I don’t think I made a tackle in 16 years of playing!

“But it is great working with him, it has it’s pros and cons, but we are there for each other.

“I worked under Jonno and Bernard at Salford so kind of know what it is like for the players to work under a two.”

Morning says the aim this season is a mid-table finish and bring consistency and good football back to the Arbories.

As for the Macron Cup, he has his thoughts.

“It’s not for me, to be honest,” he said. “What is does mean though is that we can give players minutes. We have a small squad and everyone wants to play.

“If you don’t give them minutes, they will leave. That is what you have to deal with as a manager.”