FOOTBALL: Merritt excited by City's future after taking over

Justin Merritt, Oxford City's new general manager

Justin Merritt, Oxford City's new general manager

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in Non League Football. Call me on 01865 425488

Justin Merritt is predicting exciting times lie ahead for Oxford City after he was appointed as the club’s general manager.

Merritt, 39, was previously in charge of City and helped them to promotion via the play-offs to the Southern League Premier Division, before resigning two games into the 2009-10 campaign to concentrate on his business interests.

But Merritt, who has also managed Witney Town, said he had no hesitation in taking on a new role at City, which will see him work with Enrique Guillen, who has been promoted to head coach.

The Spaniard previously coached under previous manager Mike Ford, who was sacked last month.

“Enrique will be running the team and I will be supporting him with ideas and player recruitment,” said Merritt.

“But he will be working primarily with the players.

“We’ll be working together – he’s a very enthusiastic guy. He coaches our futsal team and is also a coach at Oxford United’s Centre of Excellence.

“I understand you can’t transfer everything from futsal across to the 11-a-side game, but we may bring it in as part of our training.

“We want to bring an exciting, attacking brand of football to the club, but we’re not unrealistic – we want to be successful in the league, so you have to get the balance right.”

Oxford Mail:

Enrique Guillen joins Justin Merritt in Oxford City’s management team

He added: “Some people may have wished for someone who has managed at a higher level, but I feel I have enough knowledge and enthusiasm to achieve what we want.

“I have been out of football for a while and have had a rest, but I’ve got some ideas and I have also been working in the industry as a FA educator.

“I feel I have learned a lot and have matured as a person.

“The role is not directly being the manager. I’m going to have a more analytical role.”

Asked about the club’s ambitions for next season, he added: “I think (a promotion bid) is a very difficult one to call, it depends on how strong the other teams are in the league.

“The benchmark for City will be an improvement on last year and to develop a style that will encourage people to come and watch us at Court Place Farm.”

Merritt emphasised that while Ford was no longer boss, he still had a vital role to play.

“I’ve been talking to Mike and he’s been able to advise me on how the players that were here did last season,” he added.

“We want to carry on the work that Mike did here. He did a good job, but the club felt it was time to freshen it up at the top.”

Who was Oxford United's man of the match at Hartlepool?

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

5:37pm Saturday 20th December 2014

Hartlepool Utd 1 (Ironside 53), Oxford Utd 1 (Hylton 65)

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

5:00pm Saturday 20th December 2014

DANNY Hylton ended his barren run in front of goal as Oxford United came from behind to earn a point against Hartlepool United.

Updates - Hartlepool Utd V Oxford Utd

Oxford Mail: oxford united logo 1200pix

1:57pm Saturday 20th December 2014

All the news from Oxford United's Sky Bet League Two clash at Hartlepool United.

Oxford United look to spoil Hartlepool's party

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 20th December 2014

Andy Whing says Oxford United should expect to beat Hartlepool United this afternoon despite the Football League’s bottom club appointing a new manager this week.

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Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 20th December 2014

Michael Appleton’s main selection decision for Oxford United today is picking who leads the line against Hartlepool.

TABLE TENNIS: In-form duo maintain relentless title battle

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8:10am Saturday 20th December 2014

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RUGBY: Nathan Morris hoping to get chance to pit his wits against the best

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8:10am Saturday 20th December 2014

LONDON Welsh replacement hooker Nathan Morris is looking forward to the opportunity to test himself against some of the best in the game when they travel to Saracens today, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

BOXING: Ashley Banks cashes in to capture national title

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 20th December 2014

Banbury BC lightweight Ashley Banks was crowned England junior novice champion after a unanimous points win against Rahul Gondalia (Karmand BC, Bradford) in the final.

ICE HOCKEY: Popular veteran Andy Cox back on board to boost Oxford City Stars

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 20th December 2014

Oxford City Stars have ex-player Andy Cox back in their ranks when they host Solent Devils in English National League South Division 1 tomorrow (6.15).

AQUATHLON: Award-winning Janette Cardy given sponsorship lift

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 20th December 2014

Janette Cardy has received a welcome boost following her success at last month’s Oxfordshire Sports Awards.

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