Ford knows Ardley will be out to cause upset

Banbury United manager Mike Ford
Banbury United manager Mike Ford

Banbury United boss Mike Ford will be keen to get through next week’s OFA Senior Cup semi-final with Ardley United.

If United do, then Ford should face his former club Oxford City in the final if, as expected, they come through their semi-final with North Leigh.

I know we’ll be favourites but I’m sure Ardley will do everything they can to beat us

Puritans boss Mike Ford

United take on the UHLSport Hellenic League side for the second time in five seasons, having beaten Ardley in a penalty shoot-out at Thame on their way to winning the cup in 2015. Wednesday’s tie takes place at Kidlington while City meet North Leigh at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium next month.

The OFA Senior Cup has had its critics in recent seasons for some of the rules in the competition, and organisers insisting semi-finals take place at neutral venues only adds to that. Which neutral venue would the OFA have chosen had it been an all-Banbury semi-final with United up against Easington Sports?

If the OFA wants the competition well-supported in the latter stages then the first team out of the hat needs to host the semi-final. That would guarantee a decent turn-out from at least one of the clubs.

Ford said: “The OFA Senior Cup is the most prestigious in the county and we respect it.

“It is what it is and I’m sure Kidlington’s officials will try and have the pitch in its best condition for the semi-final.

“I know we’ll be favourites but I’m sure Ardley will do everything they can to beat us.”

Jack Finch returned to the club last week and started on the bench at Kettering Town.

Finch left the club before Christmas for Brackley Town but was unable to get into the squad.

He will be available for Wednesday’s cup tie with Ardley as United retained his registration but Ford will not be able to select Oxford United loanee Matt Taylor.