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MIKE Ford says Banbury United should be proud of their season, despite narrowly failing to make the play-offs.

A 1-0 defeat at Leamington on Easter Monday ended hopes of a top-five finish in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.

Ford was hoping the Puritans, who will finish sixth, would go into their final game of the campaign at home to Kettering Town tomorrow with something resting on the match.

But the manager is now determined they end a superb season on a high.

“I’ve long talked about the last game having something on it,” he said.

“There still is to a certain extent. There’s personal pride and we have an opportunity to finish on a high.

“We were very disappointed on Monday after the game, but we have picked ourselves up and are looking to move on really quickly.

“When you look back at the season as a whole, it’s been a fantastic one for us.

“We can’t stay disappointed for too long. We have to look forward to next season and see how we can do things better.”

Ford believes Banbury have been the Southern League’s surprise package this season, and his players now know what they are capable of.

“We are happy with how we’ve acquitted ourselves,” he said.

“We had a period at the top of the league and, from December onwards, we’ve been as good as anyone and have lost very few games. We’ve shown that we can learn.

“The challenge now for the players is what we can do better.

“We have a young side. Lots of players in my team have been playing at this level for the first time.

“The difficulty is they have to do it again next year. If any of them think they’ve cracked it at this level, they mustn’t think that way.

“Teams will be aware of us now. We won’t be slipping under the radar next season.”

Only Callum White (bruised kidneys) is missing for an otherwise full-strength squad.

North Leigh could finish in sixth place in Division 1 South & West if they can beat third-placed Taunton at Eynsham Park.

Defender Sam Elkins returns from his five-match suspension as Didcot Town make the trip to Mangotsfield United.

Jack Longford (knee), Josh Baines (ankle) and Ryan Barney (knee) are all fitness doubts, while Tom Stone has been added to the squad.

Ross Tanner is suspended after being sent off in a reserve team match.

Relegated Wantage Town finish their disappointing campaign at home to Bishops Cleeve.

Kidlington host Ashford Town (Middlesex) in Division 1 Central.

Mark Janes is suspended, while Jack Dunmall is injured.

TOMORROW’S SQUADS

Banbury Utd (v Kettering, home): from Harding, Bradbury, Martin, Westbrook, Carnell, McEachran, Nash, Johnson, McDonagh, Winters, Odhiambo, Duku, Humphreys, Bell, Browne, Self.

North Leigh (v Taunton Town, home): Clayton, Lymn, D James, Turk, Hole, Wellon, Thomas, L Williams, Seacole, Cook, Hopkins, Gunn, Wyatt, James, M Williams.

Didcot Tn (v Mangotsfield Utd, away): from Bedwell, Thomas, Janes, Ballard, Learoyd, Elkins, Barder, McNish, B Whitehead, Joyce, Reid, Jeacock, Thorne, H Whitehead, Andrady, Hoskin, Cattell, Stone.

Kidlington (v Ashford Tn Middx, home): from Warrell, Tetek, Willoughby, Quainton, Flanagan, Franklin, Castle, Coyle, Osborne-Ricketts, Gabbidon, Thomas, Harvey, A Odhiambo, E Odhiambo.