Excitement in the air as Puritans prepare for the step up

There’s excitement in the air for Banbury United as they get ready for the big kick-off in the Vanarama National League North this weekend.
Banbury United manager Andy WhingBanbury United manager Andy Whing
Banbury United manager Andy Whing

The Puritans are gearing up for a crack at Step 2 after their stunning title success in the Southern League Premier Central last season.

The long campaign begins at Curzon Ashton on Saturday with boss Andy Whing admitting everyone is “ buzzing” for life at a higher level.

Banbury rounded off their pre-season campaign by drawing 0-0 at FC United of Manchester last weekend before winning the resulting penalty shoot-out 3-1 to lift the Football Supporters Association Brian Lomax Cup.

Now all eyes are firmly focused on a return trip to the north-west this weekend.

And Whing, who has kept faith with the vast majority of his title-winning squad, insists his team’s approach to games won’t be changing.

“The fans are absolutely buzzing and so are we, we can’t wait for it to start,” the Puritans boss said.

“But, for me, it’s a really tough game and it’s a really tough start. The first five or six games look very tough on paper.

“It’s important we try to get off to a good start but we are really looking forward to it.

“The good thing is that we have one way of playing and we aren’t going to change that.

“If we were going to change the way we play, we would have brought more players in during the summer but we can’t afford to do that with our budget.

“We will go and play the way we play. We won’t change anything.

“The players are looking forward to it.

“We know there will be some hard games ahead of us but the players are thriving off that and you can see, from the way we have played in pre-season, that there is a lot of belief in the squad.”

Banbury, meanwhile, have completed the loan signing of versatile midfielder Ben Radcliffe on loan from Burton Albion.

The 18-year-old was named Scholar of the Year at the Sky Bet League One club last season and he was rewarded with his first professional contract this summer.

Radcliffe spent the second half of last season on a work experience loan deal with Northern Premier League side Mickleover Sports where he scored five goals.