Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup tie could be Mike Ford’s best chance of guiding Banbury United into the first round.
The Puritans will be facing lower tier opposition when they entertain Shildon in Saturday’s third qualifying round tie.
This is probably going to be my best opportunity as manager of this club to get into the fourth qualifying roundPuritans boss Mike Ford
Victory over Shildon and the Puritans could be one game away from pulling out a Football League club in the first round proper.
The County Durham outfit are second in division one of the Ebac Northern League – the same level as the UHLSport Hellenic League – and knocked out the once mighty Altrincham, now of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, in the previous round. But, as far as the tie is concerned, crucially United were drawn at home and Ford will want to make sure his side are not heading 200 miles up to Shildon for a midweek replay.
Ford said: “This is probably going to be my best opportunity as manager of this club to get into the fourth qualifying round. If I was still a player, it would be a game I would really want to play in.
“We went to Wealdstone at this stage last season without too much expectation. This time it will be completely different, we will be expected to win the game.
“That brings its own pressures but, as in the last round, we’ve got to manage those expectations. We’ve had them watched three times.
“We’re playing a team two levels below us and, with a big support behind us, I will be looking for us to put on a show.”