Final third still main concern for United

Banbury United manager Mike Ford
Banbury United manager Mike Ford

It’s already clear where Banbury United boss Mike Ford still has concerns – in the final third.

Ford had seen one of his summer signings Nabil Shariff turn his back on the club but, despite much speculation, Claudio Dias is staying at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.

Defensively, we look fine and we’ve got attack-minded players in midfield and they will have to come up with more goals, as will my central defenders from set-pieces

Puritans boss Mike Ford

But, with club captain Ricky Johnson not expected to return until September, John Mills is United’s only recognised striker with Ryan Macdonald yet to prove himself at this level. And another new signing Pablo Haysham is ruled out for a month with a hamstring injury while Dias needs game time under his belt after finally committing himself to the club.

So much will depend on Mills recapturing the form which made him such a prolific scorer at Didcot Town and Hereford. If he can, then United will have a proven scorer back on their books.

Ford said: “As for attacking players we probably need to get in one more if not two. John Mills is really keen to show what he can do for us this time, it’s good to have him back but we’ve got to get him 100 per cent fit for the start of the season.

“Ricky Johnson is struggling to be fit by September but John [Mills] played for an hour against Oxford United on Tuesday and should be able to play a full game on Saturday.

“It’s a relief to have Claudio [Dias] here because we were a good attacking midfielder light. Defensively, we look fine and we’ve got attack-minded players in midfield and they will have to come up with more goals, as will my central defenders from set-pieces.”

United entertain Wantage Town in their final pre-season game on Saturday.