Home form will hold the key in Banbury’s push for a play-off place

Andy Whing knows Banbury United’s home form will be key if they are to maintain a push for the Vanarama National League North play-offs.
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It’s been a fine week for the Puritans so far as they claimed a 3-2 victory at Hereford last Saturday, courtesy of two goals from Kelvin Langmead and one from Alex Babos.

And they followed that up by reaching the last 16 of the Isuzu FA Trophy for the first time since 1974 thanks to a 3-2 home win over Coalville Town with Henry Landers scoring twice and Craig Hewitt adding the other.

It means they will now play National League side Gateshead at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium a week on Saturday (February 11) for a place in the quarter-finals.

Craig Hewitt takes the congratulations after scoring Banbury United's third goal in their 3-2 success over Coalville Town in the FA Trophy on Tuesday night. Picture by Julie HawkinsCraig Hewitt takes the congratulations after scoring Banbury United's third goal in their 3-2 success over Coalville Town in the FA Trophy on Tuesday night. Picture by Julie Hawkins
Craig Hewitt takes the congratulations after scoring Banbury United's third goal in their 3-2 success over Coalville Town in the FA Trophy on Tuesday night. Picture by Julie Hawkins

But, before that, the focus is back on the league as Banbury host strugglers Kettering Town who fought back from 2-0 down to beat Boston United 3-2 in midweek.

The Puritans are currently four points adrift of the play-off places but have games in hand on the teams above them.

And boss Whing said: “It’s going to be a really tough game. Kettering will be buoyant after their fantastic comeback on Tuesday.

“It was a tough game against them away from home so it will be hard. But we will go into it looking to win.

“Kidderminster and Chorley both won on Tuesday so, for us to stay in and around those play-off places, we have got to win our home games.

“I think 13 out of our last 20 games are at home, we have got to play five of the bottom side at home so it’s really important we pick points up.

“We will give it a right go as we always do.”

Whing expects to have a bit more to choose from when it comes to his squad this weekend after they were left depleted for Tuesday’s victory.

Jaanai Gordon will be available again after being cup-tied while Stockport County loanees Cody Johnson and Keane Barugh will also come back into contention.

“Jaanai was cup-tied so we will have him back and the two Stockport lads who couldn’t be registered for the game will be back as well,” Whing added.

“So we will get three or four back for the weekend, which will be great and we should be okay.”

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