Banbury United manager Mike Ford is urging the town’s football fans to get behind his team for Saturday’s key clash with North Leigh.
The Puritans entertain their Evo-Stik Southern League promotion rivals with Ford looking for home advantage to give his young side the edge.
Now is the time to throw caution to the wind...I want us to be more attacking from the startPuritans boss Mike Ford
There was a feel-good factor on and off the field at Spencer Stadium during the home game against Larkhall Athletic, with the former players day attracting a good turn-out – and Ford will be hoping many of those return for the Division One South & West clash.
He said: “Saturday’s game is between two top teams and I really hope the football fans in the town come down to see it. We’ve hadthree away games since the last home game so I hope the fans will be desperate to see to some football again.
“We’ll be doing all we can to get into the play-offs and if we don’t make it then I will know that we did everything we could. It’s been a long time since the supporters saw their side in a promotion push.
“If someone had said that we would be playing North Leigh in February with both teams going for promotion I would have been surprised but that shows how much progress we have made.”
And Ford says the time may be right for his side to be less cautious than they have been in previous encounters with some of their play-off rivals.
The Puritans have yet to beat a top-ten team and Ford knows that will have to change if his side are to stay in the play-offs.
He said: “I’ve looked back on the tight games we’ve had when we haven’t taken all three points. Yes, we missed chances but perhaps we were a bit too cautious in the way I set us up in those games.
“Now is the time to throw caution to the wind, we won’t go gung-ho but I want to us be more attacking from the start.”
United drew 1-1 at North Leigh back in October. Since then Mark Gee’s side have slipped out of the play-offs and Ford knows they will be keen to prove a point.
“North Leigh will be up for it, I’ve no doubt about that. They had a great start to the season so it was always going to be difficult for them to maintain that.
“But it’s a derby and both teams like to play football. Like us, they are better going forward although I’ve got good defenders.
“But we’re the highest scorers in the division and I’ve got six top strikers.”