FOOTBALL: Boss Gee aiming to surprise City

Oxford Mail: North Leigh's Elliott Osborne-Ricketts returns from suspension for their Oxfordshire Senior Cup final clash with Oxford City at the Kassam Stadium tonight North Leigh's Elliott Osborne-Ricketts returns from suspension for their Oxfordshire Senior Cup final clash with Oxford City at the Kassam Stadium tonight

North Leigh boss Mark Gee says Oxford City’s promotion charge could give his side the advantage when the Evo-Stik Southern League outfits meet at the Kassam Stadium in tonight’s Oxfordshire Senior Cup final (7.45).

City are hoping to go up from the Premier Division, while North Leigh, who won the cup in 2008, have a slim chance of reaching the Division 1 South & West play-offs.

“It’s a big achievement for a club like ours to reach the final,” said Gee.

“And the fact we are seeded shows how far we have progressed in the last few years.

“We would have played the full Oxford United side (in the quarter-finals) had it not been for the pitch temperature dropping to minus 5 five minutes before the start.

“But when they came back (it was re-arranged), we played their youth team. Then we beat Thame United (2-1).

“So we have been given a kind run.”

He added: “City will be concentrating on going up rather than the cup, which could help us.

“We’ve been playing what have seemed like cup finals since Christmas.

“We’ve now got the chance to play a team from the higher division and we’re all looking forward to it.

“I can’t see any reason why we can’t win the cup.

“City are flying and are in the play-offs, so we need to play the best we can and hope some of their players have an off-day.”

Elliott Osborne-Ricketts is back from suspension.

City manager Mike Ford said: “It would be nice to win the cup because we haven’t won it for a few years, but promotion is the priority.

“It’s not being disrespectful to the competition or to our opponents, but I have to do what’s best for the team and we have a very important league game against Hemel Hempstead on Thursday.

“Do we want to win the Senior Cup or have the best chance of getting in the play-offs? It’s a no-brainer.

“Mark Bell will play, and Felipe (Barcelos) and Aaron Woodley will play a half-each and that’s about it.”

City are already without Wayne Blossom (suspended), Steve Basham (thigh injury, Chris Willmott (ankle) and Darren Pond (knee).

Albi Skendi and Conor McDonagh are cup-tied.

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