STEVE Wilkes has challenged Northwich Victoria’s players to persuade him they have a future at the club in the games left this season.

The manager told the Guardian that he will be aiming high next term and already has identified targets that he believes can make the team more competitive.

However he stressed that does not mean he has written off the current campaign.

“I’ve an idea who I want to keep but my mind can be changed,” said the Vics boss.

“We’ve an eye on what’s to come, and I’m adamant I want us to challenge for promotion.

“The reality of that is that some lads here now won’t be next season because we’re a way off where we need to be.

“It’s not just in games; we’re looking at their attitude in training and the way they conduct themselves.

“We can’t settle for being where we are, and looking up at sides like Runcorn Linnets or Bootle. In time, that should be us.”

Vics are 11th in the North West Counties League’s top-flight following a 3-1 win against AFC Liverpool on Tuesday - their first Premier Division victory since Boxing Day.

It put behind them a five-goal hammering at Bootle last weekend.

Wilkes said: “We want to finish as high as we can.

“There is silverware to play for as well because we’re still in the league cup, and our aim is to win it.

“If we can, then that bodes well for the lads that stay and also will help us to persuade potential new signings that we’re a side on the up.

“We must improve though; the home defeats against Charnock Richard and then 1874 Northwich taught us that – we were well-beaten on both occasions.”

Vics have won nine of the 20 league games played since Wilkes replaced Paul Moore in the dugout.

Six of those came in a seven-game period, although injuries and the weather have disrupted momentum since.

Wilkes added: “The most disappointing thing for me is we haven’t yet nailed down a system.

“We’ve kept changing things around in certain positions, and that partly explains why we’ve been inconsistent.

“Once we find a formation that everybody is comfortable with, then results will follow.

“Overall though we’re happy with how things have gone; the fans have been brilliant and they can see what we’re trying to achieve here.”