Why should I watch..?

Padiham, seventh in the Premier Division last season, are likely to provide an early indication of Northwich Victoria’s relative strength following their demotion from the Northern Premier League.

Both teams have suffered a blow of bowing out of the FA Cup in the past seven days; the Storks went down 2-1 at home to City of Liverpool, while Vics took 1874 Northwich to a replay following a 2-2 draw at Barnton on Saturday.

That gives them an added incentive to win their first league game.

The visitors were boosted too on Friday afternoon by the return of attacker Yaw Gyimah after he spent the summer training with higher-ranked Ashton United.

What they’ve said

“We have two tough games to start; Northwich have come down from the league above, while Charnock have come up.”

Steve Wilkes, Padiham manager

“We’ve a difficult run ahead of us after going out of the FA Cup, but that should be enough to motivate us.

“We’ll regroup [after losing to 1874], and we’ll be ready for Padiham.

“We didn’t perform in midweek, or dig in when we came under pressure.

“But to run a side as good as them close is something for us to feel positive about.”

Paul Moore, Northwich Victoria co-manager

Numbers game

Vics are unbeaten on the opening day of a new season since a 4-3 reverse at Stamford in August 2012.

They have even beaten Padiham in a first fixture during that run, recording a 2-0 victory in a Northern Premier League encounter the following year.

Man to keep an eye on

Jake Pollard

Along with Olly Walker, probably the summer signing that manager Paul Moore has been most excited about.

He will be tasked with linking midfield to an attack that was starved of opportunities in midweek.

“Jake sparks everything for us – he’s a livewire,” said the Vics boss.

“He can open up a defence for us, and we’ve missed his energy in the first couple of games.”

A junior with Hyde, Pollard played in the Premier Division last season for New Mills.

Vics team news

Moore has not ruled out Richie Mottram despite revealing that the goalkeeper had fractured a bone in his wrist during last weekend’s FA Cup draw with 1874 Northwich.

However he does have a replacement on stand-by if the shot-stopper doesn’t make it.

The Vics boss will wait until the latest possible moment to decide on the involvement of captain Reece Lyndon after he tweaked a hamstring in midweek.

Gyimah should feature too.

Most recent meetings

Vics 5-1 Padiham (NPL Division One North, January 17 2015)

Padiham 0-2 Vics (NPL Division One North, October 11 2014)

Padiham 3-2 Vics (NPL Division One North, December 7 2013)

Essential information

Kick off 3pm

Address Arbories Memorial Sports Ground, Well Street, Padiham, Lancashire BB12 8LE

Admission Adults £6, Concessions £3

Parking Free at ground for around 40 vehicles