Bradbury’s display just what Ford hoped for

Banbury United manager Mike Ford gives young players every encouragement
Banbury United manager Mike Ford gives young players every encouragement

The Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium is fast getting a reputation as the place to be for young footballers.

Banbury United boss Mike Ford has given many young players their opportunity and, in most cases, they’ve taken their chance.

Several people warned me not to risk him on Saturday because Tom [Bradbury] has never played at that level but I knew he would do well for us

Puritans boss Mike Ford

This season, players such as Jack Self, Luke Carnell and Sam Humphreys have shown they have what it takes to play at this level. And on Saturday, Tom Bradbury made the most of his early opportunity.

Bradbury replaced club captain Andy Gunn in United’s defence and made an impressive debut against Cambridge City, alongside two other young players Jack Westbrook and Carnell.

Ford admitted it may have been a risk and said: “I had not seen Tom Bradbury play so to leave my captain out and bring him in for his full debut was seen as a risk by some.

“But the back five had played a lot of football and I said leading up to the game that I needed to change things. Players have a lot going on in their lives away from football and sometimes they can be a bit flat.

“Several people warned me not to risk him on Saturday because Tom has never played at that level before but I knew he would do well for us.

“He’s been well schooled and we’ve got him at a very good time, he put in an assured performance.”