Play the game says Ford as he prepares for the festive feast

Banbury United's Mark Bell and Cinderford Town's Kieran Thomas chase for the ball at Spencer Stadium
Banbury United's Mark Bell and Cinderford Town's Kieran Thomas chase for the ball at Spencer Stadium

Banbury United boss Mike Ford will be impressing on his players the need to play their own game for the Boxing Day trip to Evesham United.

The Puritans have slipped to seventh in the Evo-Stik Southern League following the narrow defeat against leaders Cinderford Town. But Ford says his players are in good spirits ahead of Saturday’s Division One South clash at Evesham.

If we go to Evesham and get involved in a scrap then we will lose the game

Puritans boss Mike Ford

Ford said: “We showed we can match the top sides, it was a tight game on Saturday and we matched Cinderford for long periods. But if we go to Evesham and get involved in a scrap with them we will lose the game, if we play our normal passing game we’re capable of getting a result.

“It was a close game when we drew with Evesham at home but we’re miles better than we were back then. Evesham have got a big budget and have probably under-achieved so far, after reaching the play-offs last season.”

With Tuesday’s game at Taunton Town being called off, Leam Howards will now serve the final game of his three-match suspension at Evesham, where Louis Joyce will begin his three-game ban.

Looking back on Tuesday’s postponed match at Taunton, Ford refused to blame the west country club for his side having a wasted trip. The Puritans’ coach had already reached the Bristol area when the game was called-off at 6pm because of water-logging after the pitch had been passed fit earlier in the day.

Ford said: “I love games over the festive period but it takes a lot for clubs to get games on at this time of year. It’s happened to me plenty of times as a player and manager and I’m sure it will happen to us again this season.

“It’s just one of those things. We should have been going there on a Saturday earlier in the season but that game was postponed because of the FA Trophy.”