Oxford City manager Mike Ford says it is vital his side cash in on their fellow strugglers slip-ups if they are to climb out of the Skrill North danger zone.

In midweek, Histon, who are five points clear of Ford’s men, but have played four more games, lost 3-1 to Gloucester City, while Stalybridge slipped up 3-2 at home to Guiseley, who visit City tomorrow.

And Ford, whose side face four games in the next eight days, starting with the visit of the play-off chasers, says it is crucial they close the gap quickly.

“People keep giving us a lifelines and we have to make sure we use them to our advantage of them and get our result,” said Ford.

“Ideally, you want to be going into that on the back of a win, but we’re not, so we have to deal with it.

“My message to the players is that by the end of these four games we need to be above Histon.

“Everyone is desperate to get away from the bottom of the table.”

But Ford admitted his side needed to be meaner in defence, having suffered successive 4-0 defeats at leaders Telford and mid-table Leamington.

He added: “After Tuesday night (at Leamington) there is only one way we can go.

“We have had some issues with conceding goals, but that has now been addressed.

“We have to make ourselves more difficult to play against. so we’ll change the set-up.”

City are without Lee Henderson (hamstring), so Andy Ballard, on the bench at Leamington, starts at right back.

Josh O’Hanlon, on-loan from Bournemouth, could make a first start having made his debut on Tuesday.

Winger Tom Winters could be rested.

Oxford City: Bulman, Pond, Stonehouse, Pook, Preece, Willmott, Solomon-Otabor, Mullings, Symons, Jackson, Winters McEachran, Benjamin, Ballard, Learoyd, O’Hanlon.