FOOTBALL: Duo return for City with boss Merritt calling for more of the same

Jose Lapoujade is hoping to be fit to take on AFC Fylde at Marsh Lane tomorrow

Jose Lapoujade is hoping to be fit to take on AFC Fylde at Marsh Lane tomorrow

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor. Call me on 01865 425451

DARREN Mullings and Alejandro-Adrian Santiago return from suspension as Oxford City look to get back to winning ways at home to AFC Fylde tomorrow.

The duo have served three and one-game bans respectively following dismissals earlier this season.

And with full back Jose Lapoujade also hoping to be fit, general manager Justin Merritt has a near full-strength squad available.

City’s unbeaten start to the season was ended by a 1-0 defeat at Harrogate Town last Saturday, but Merritt was encouraged by the display, despite the result.

“It was a massive step forward in terms of performance,” he said.

“We played some great football, but I just feel we are not having the rub of the green at the moment.

“We had a team meeting last Thursday night about how we want to do things and how we are trying to play, and it was great to see the players taking that on board.

“If we repeat that level of display, and add the extra 20 per cent that I feel we have still to come, we can be right in there.”

Although City have started the season brightly, Merritt is hoping that if his players stay clear of injuries and suspensions there will be plenty more to enthuse about.

“For one reason or another, I have not been able to pick the same team for consecutive matches,” he added.

“We have the two players back from suspension for Saturday and are hoping Jose will be fit too.

“Once they are back, hopefully things will settle down and we can really push on.”

AFC Fylde, promoted from the Northern Premier last season, are fifth in the table.

They are managed by Dave Challinor, known by football fans for a huge long throw.

“They have had a great start and will be tough,” Merritt said.

“We have had them watched, but I’m interested in what we do rather than our opponents.”

TOMORROW’S SQUAD

Oxford City (v AFC Fylde, home): from Scott, Benjamin, Lapoujade, Malone, Pond, Brown, Rodriguez, Wilson, Mullings, Santiago, Del Alamo, Winters, Stonehouse, Green, Afolabi, Barcelos, Yussuf, Arnau.

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