Ford says the Puritans could be on brink of something big

Banbury United#s Zac McEachran takes on Slimbridge's Ryan Thwaite at Spencer Stadium
Banbury United#s Zac McEachran takes on Slimbridge's Ryan Thwaite at Spencer Stadium

Mike Ford says Banbury United could be on the brink of an exciting campaign but knows it will be how his players cope with setbacks that will determine success or failure.

The Puritans face two tough challenges over the next couple of weekends as they look to cement their place in the Evo-Stick Southern League play-offs.

These are exciting times for the club and we’re set up nicely for the second half of the season

Puritans boss Mike Ford

Saturday’s trip to Shortwood United is followed by a clash with Division One South & West leaders Cinderford Town at Spencer Stadium and Ford will be keen for his side to go into that game on the back of another good performance in the Forest of Dean.

United are fourth in the table following their seventh victory in nine outings against Slimbridge at Spencer Stadium but they will be without Leam Howards for both games as last season’s top scorer begins a three-match suspension.

And, with Louis Joyce also facing a similar spell on the sidelines following his dismissal in Tuesday’s Birmingham Senior Cup exit at Lye Town, a lot will depend on how prolific Ricky Johnson can be over the next few games.

Ford said: “These are exciting times for the club and we’re set up nicely for the second half of the season.

“People always tend to remember the second half of any game, as they do the second half of a season. If we dip supporters won’t remember how well we did in the first half so we want to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“We’ve all got to be on our game, players, me and my coaching staff, and the board. There will be setbacks and we could go through a sticky period but its all about how we deal with the setbacks if they happen.”

Ford made several changes for the trip to Lye Town but said that he will always pick the team which best suits the club’s long term ambitions.

He added: “I’m prepared to pick whatever side I feel is right at any time for any game, league or cup, which is in the best interests of the club. It’s not about the short-term but the long-term and the league remains the priority.”