Ford excited about his first season at Puritans

Although manager Mike Ford is playing down talk of taking Banbury United straight back up, he knows they will be on the list of many punters to at least make the Evo-Stik Southern League play-offs.

The Puritans kick off their Division One South & West campaign against Swindon Supermarine at Spencer Stadium on Saturday before travelling to Marlow three days later.

Ford’s new-look side are one of the bookies’ favourites for the title but the new manager simply wants to see how the opening ten games go before making any predictions. The former Oxford City boss admits he is lacking some experience in defence but is more than happy with his attacking options.

Ford said: “If we can hit the ground running and get a few wins under our belt we will attract more players to the club.

“We’ve worked on a certain pattern of play in pre-season and we’ll take that into the league games. We want them to play with a structure, we want them to play football and if they make a mistake trying to play out from the back and we concede not too worry, but I don’t want us to be conceding silly goals.

“If we keep working hard and have the right motivation I’m sure we can pick up results.

“We told the players to express themselves but to play in a structure, let’s see where we are after ten games and assess the situation.”

Keeper Jack Harding misses the opening game and Oxford United scholar Jack Stevens, who has deputised, is not available, so Ford will bring a keeper on-loan.

Despite that setback, Ford is looking forward to seeing his side in competitive action.

He added: “These are exciting times for the club, on and off the field, and I could not have asked for more of the players.

“We’ve not got a benefactor so any success we get will have been earned and, if it comes, will be more satisfying. I can’t promise we will be promoted but we will play an exciting brand of football, gather some momentum and improve as the season goes on.”