FOOTBALL: Ford ends search by signing Holegate

Oxford City boss Mike Ford hopes to have ended his search for an experienced striker after signing former Swindon Town forward Ashan Holegate.

The 26-year-old, who was a professional at the County Ground where he made nine first-team appearances, was signed in time to be included in the squad for Saturday’s FA Carlsberg Trophy first-round tie against Bishop’s Stortford at Court Place Farm.

However, that was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and with a pitch inspection planned for lunchtime ahead of tonight’s rescheduled game, he may have to wait a little longer.

The winners will be away to either Maidenhead United or Sutton United in the second round on December 15.

“He’s different to what we have got at the moment,” said Ford.

“He’s 6ft 2in and is good in the air. He’s a good size. I’ve been chasing him for about two seasons.

“He was at Swindon Town and also played for Newport County, Macclesfield, Maidenhead and Weston-super-Mare, so he’s got a lot of experience.”

With Holegate arriving, City have released striker Nabil Sharif.

Ford said: “That means with Ashan, Jamie Cook, Steve Basham and Felipe Barcelos we have four proper strikers at the club.”

And he added of Sharif: “One goal in 20 games speaks for itself. I think I gave him enough opportunities.

“He’s been a bit of a nomad, so he needs to settle down at a club, but he’s definitely got something about him.

“I would have no problem in recommending to another club.”

Abingdon United striker Aaron Woodley has rejected a move to Evo-Stik Division 1 South & West rivals Didcot Town.

Didcot boss Gary Elkins was keen to land the former Oxford United youngster, but Woodley told Elkins that he is staying at Northcourt Road.

“I’m afraid it’s a no-go,” said Elkins. “I told him my thoughts and he said he had only been there for five weeks.

“He has formed a good striking partnership with Carl Self, so he wants to stay there and give it a try.

“It’s a shame from our point of view, but I can understand his reasons.”

Meanwhile, Didcot will be without Brian Bowles (groin injury) when they travel to Winchester City tonight.

TONIGHT'S SQUADS

Oxford City (v Bishop’s Stortford, home, 1.30pm pitch inspection): from Ingram, Mills, Stonehouse, Ballard, Learoyd, Gunn, Benjamin, Pond, Barcelos, Cook, Stanley, Holegate, Ikponosg, Walcott, Glass, Basham, Willmott, Malone, Mulvany.

Didcot Tn (v Winchester City, away): from Belloli-Pereira, Heapy, Stanley, Thomas, Brown, L Williams, M Williams, Osborne-Ricketts, Haysham, Clark, Harris, Janes, Concannon, Pereira.

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