United set for tough test to stay with pack

Banbury United have another chance to take their unbeaten run into double figures but they will have to be at their best to do just that.

Banbury United manager Mike Ford knows what to expect at Merthyr Tydfil
Banbury United manager Mike Ford knows what to expect at Merthyr Tydfil

Having been denied the opportunity in Tuesday’s abandoned Evo-Stik Southern League clash with Chesham United, the Puritans face a daunting trip to Merthyr Town on Saturday.

The Martyrs were the best team to grace the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium and United were fortunate to escape with a late point.

United’s bid to make it ten unbeaten premier division games was hard enough against Chesham but Saturday’s test at fourth-placed Merthyr will be even tougher.

Boss Mike Ford said: “Merthyr were probably the best team we’ve played this season and they murdered us for half an hour until we changed the shape of the team.

“We’ll have a report on them and set-up accordingly. We know it will be another difficult game but both teams will want to play football.

“It’s on another artificial surface and we seem to be getting better on them.

“In my time as a Cardiff City player against Merthyr in the Welsh Cup their support was always vociferous. But hopefully we’ll have a good following as well so it should be a good game between two teams near the top.”

Ford will continue to rotate his squad during this busy period with another game against Basingstoke Town coming up on Tuesday.

He added: “If I keep picking the same players they will be out on their legs. Even when we’ve come through January, February is going to be another busy month so I need all my players available.”