Ford driving forward as he builds new squad

Banbury United manager Mike Ford has been busy recruiting at Spencer Stadium
Banbury United manager Mike Ford has been busy recruiting at Spencer Stadium

Banbury United manager Mike Ford is starting to shape his squad for his first season in charge.

The Puritans boss has been busy since taking over from Paul Davis last month convincing those players he wants from last season to stay at Spencer Stadium whilst trying to attract new players to the club.

And Ford has managed to get five of last season’s squad to commit to another term at Spencer Stadium. Joel Meade, Jack Westbrook, Tom Ryan, Carl Tappin and Leam Howards are staying but keeper Leigh Bedwell is following Marvin Martin to Didcot Town.

Long-serving captain Luke Cray will not be staying but Joe Coleman, who has missed two seasons through injury, and Ricky Johnson are set to return.

Two players who played against the Puritans in the Oxon Senior Cup final for North Leigh will be heading to Spencer Stadium, central defender Andy Gunn and midfielder Brian Bowles. John Steadman, who spent last season at Wantage Town before moving to Abingdon United, is another new arrival, as is former Wantage Town midfielder Mark Janes.

Up front, Louis Joyce will be reunited with Ford having played for him at Oxford City. Joyce bagged plenty of goals last season for Oxford City Nomads in the UHLSport Hellenic League and Ford has also tempted Zac McEachran to try his hand at Spencer Stadium.

Ford said: “I’ve covered a lot of miles in the car, meeting players face-to-face, because I believe that is the right way to do it. I’ve gone for reliable players - in defence and midfield - and pace up front.”