Catch us if you can says Ford as pressure grows on pack

Callum White should be okay for Saturday's trip to Didcot Town
Callum White should be okay for Saturday's trip to Didcot Town

Banbury United manager Mike Ford has thrown down the gauntlet to the chasing promotion pack.

Catch us if you can is Ford’s message as the Evo-Stik Southern League season enters the run-in with the Puritans back on top of the table.

It’s Cinderford’s title to lose and we know we’ve got to win all our games to be in with a chance

Puritans boss Mike Ford

Monday’s victory at Wantage Town, coupled with former Division One South & West leaders Cinderford dropping more points, saw the Puritans regain top spot. The question is, can they stay there?

Probably not if Cinderford can make the most of their games in hand but they have been wobbling in recent games and Ford says the pressure is on for the chasing pack to catch his team.

And he hasn’t ruled out still being on top come the end of April if United’s rivals slip up.

And for the first time in a long season, Ford is admitting that missing out on promotion is not an option he wants to consider.

Ford knows what happened to Evesham United in the play-offs at the end of a season in which they were just pipped to the title but missed out on promotion.

He said: “We don’t want pats on the back at the end of the season if we don’t go up. Success is going up, not losing in a play-off final.

“With all the effort from the players, the staff and the board it would be a huge disappointment to fall at the final hurdle.

“But we’re in the play-offs, that’s for certain, so it’s now up to us to try and win it in the final game against Taunton.

“We’re still trying to win the league, if other teams can’t cope with the pressure, we will. We’ve been up there before and know what it’s like to be there.”

The Puritans entertain Taunton Town in the final game of the season and Ford is aiming for his side to be in a strong position by then, even challenging for the title at Spencer Stadium.

He said: “It’s Cinderford’s title to lose and we know we’ve got to win all of our games to be in with a chance.

“Taunton have got some difficult fixtures. We’ve just got to have the real drive in us, especially over the next three games.”

Duran Martin should be back in the squad for Saturday’s trip to Didcot Town and Callum White, who had to come off at Wantage Town through illness, should be okay but skipper Andy Gunn serves the third of his four-match suspension.