Be ready for next challenge is Ford’s message to players

Banbury United manager Mike Ford
Banbury United manager Mike Ford

Banbury United boss Mike Ford will tell his players to be prepared for a new challenge next season.

As yet, the Puritans boss does not know which division his side will be in after this summer’s restructure but whichever one it is, Ford says his players need to improve again.

It’s been a really good journey and one that I don’t want to end yet

Puritans boss Mike Ford

Ford said: “Whichever division we’re in, we need to rise to the challenge.

“All the players have improved but they must have the ambition to come back here next season and want to improve again. If they don’t, they will be out of the team, so now it’s down to the mental side of the game for them and that will be the challenge to my young players.”

Ford’s fear was that it may have been a case of second season syndrome but United firmly established themselves as a top ten Evo-Stik Southern League side this time.

He said: “We’ve had several players start to show what they can do at this level, now I’ve got to see how I can add to that in terms of experience and character.

“We can’t attract good players in their prime, we can’t afford them. I either get them when they’re coming to the end of their careers, like Jefferson Louis, or when they’re young and help develop them into better players, like Zac McEachran.”

Coach Andy Sinnott retired following Saturday’s final game at Tiverton Town and he will be a big loss to Ford who recalled how his words inspired him when he was considering the job at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.

He said: “When this job came up I asked Andy [Sinnott] about Banbury United’s chances and he said ‘they’ve gone’ so I knew we would be under the radar. But we started to be successful, got promoted and are now a top ten premier division club.

“We’re now a team which other clubs like to beat, they see us as a side which can challenge the top five and that’s great for this football club.

“It’s been a really good journey and one that I don’t want to end yet.”