United set for return with more backbone

Banbury United manager Mike Ford
Banbury United manager Mike Ford

Given that Banbury United’s revival has come on the road, two home games in four days may not be welcomed by all.

But they are ones the Puritans are perfectly capable of wining at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.

We had to make ourselves harder to beat and we’ve done that

Puritans boss Mike Ford

Kings Langley are the visitors for Saturday’s Evo-Stik Southern League clash followed by Merthyr Town on Tuesday. United have picked up four premier division points since their last home defeat against Redditch United plus two Emirates FA Cup wins.

Looking ahead to both games, manager Mike Ford said: “I’d rather be playing away the way it’s gone lately! But seriously, it will be good to be back home.

“Winning the opening three games was a great start but losing the next four showed us what premier division football was all about. We had to make ourselves harder to beat and we’ve done that.

“Now teams will have to work really hard to beat us. Football is all about momentum and we’ve got that at the moment.”

And home fans will see a much-changed squad to the one which lost to Redditch last month. Duran Martin, Felipe Barcelos and Leam Howards have all left while Conor McDonagh and Oxford United loanee George Jeacock have joined the club and Marvin Martin has returned.

Ricky Johnson will continue to play at the back especially with skipper Andy Gunn suspended on Saturday. And Martin should be fit to play.

Ford said: “I’ve spoken with Ricky [Johnson] and told him he gives us something extra in our box the way he attacks the ball. He’s still learning the role but he’s been really good for us back there.”