FOOTBALL: Ford considers making City changes

Oxford City captain Darren Pond faces a late fitness test

Oxford City captain Darren Pond faces a late fitness test

First published in Headlines

Oxford City manager Mike Ford could ring the changes for the clash with Altrincham in Skrill North at Marsh Lane tonight (7.45), writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

City must play twice a week throughout the next month, and Ford said he hopes to keep his players fresh by rotating his squad.

Striker Steve Basham, who scored in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Barrow, could drop to the bench, while defender Daniel Akubuine may make his debut after signing from Nuneaton Town last week.

Ford said: “We worked very hard on Saturday at Barrow and I might have to give a few of those players a rest if I want them to be fresh for Saturday.

“We had Mike Symons, Lee Henderson and Jamie Cook on the bench on Saturday, so I have a very strong bench to call on.

“I’ve got to be very careful with Bash and I might have to give him a rest, because he’s spent a lot of time on the sidelines and I want him fit for the rest of the season.

“Daniel’s the right age for me to be able to mould into the kind of full-back that I want and I think he can be a good prospect.

“But I have to be careful about making too many changes, because I don’t want to upset the balance of the team.”

Captain Darren Pond’s fitness will be assessed ahead of the game, having been substituted at half-time on Saturday after taking a knee to the back.

In Calor League Division 1 South & West, North Leigh boss Mark Gee is eyeing a return to winning ways at home to struggling Fleet Town after seeing his side concede a sickening injury-time equaliser to Bridgwater Town in a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

“It always feels like a defeat when you concede that late, and it’s the fourth time that’s happened to us this season, so you can’t help but think about points dropped,” said Gee.

“We’ve had a tough, tiring game at the weekend, so there may be a few changes to the starting XI.”

With the exception of midfielder James Dobson, who is at a funeral, Gee will have a full complement of players to choose from.

TONIGHT’S SQUADS

Oxford City (v Altrincham, home): from Scott, Ballard, Stonehouse, Pook, Learoyd, Willmott, Benjamin, McNish, Symons, Pond, Winters, Basham, Cook, Bell, Henderson, West, Jackson, Akubuine, McEachran.

North Leigh (v Fleet Town, home): from McHugh, Hole, Hopkins, Osborne-Ricketts, Gunn, Westlake, Else, Bowles, McDonagh, Woodley, Williams, Turk, Organ, Caton, Walcott, Clark.

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