FOOTBALL: Skipper Mullings banned as City to keep run going

City’s Darren Mullins, seen beating the challenge of Chorley’s Dale Whitham, is out for three games

City’s Darren Mullins, seen beating the challenge of Chorley’s Dale Whitham, is out for three games

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Captain Darren Mullings starts a three-match ban as Oxford City bid to extend their unbeaten start to the season when they visit Solihull Moors tomorrow.

Mullings is suspended after being sent for a late challenge in the 1-0 win at Hyde United.

General manager Justin Merritt admitted City, unbeaten in three games, would miss their skipper.

But at the same time they are lifted by the return of Darren Pond, whose hip injury is not as bad as first feared.

“He will be a big miss for us,” said Merritt. “The good news, though, is that Darren Pond is expected to return on Saturday, so that’s a like-for-like swap.”

Left back Jose Lapoujade is a slight doubt due to a hamstring strain, but Adi Yussuf, who was unavailable last week, returns to the squad.

Bidemi Afolabi, who made his debut as a substitute in the goalless draw at home to Chorley after being signed from Corby Town, is again in the squad.

Merritt said of the 19-year-old striker: “He is 6ft 4ins, but not big and powerful. He is more in the Kanu-mould, good with the ball at his feet and dribbling at players. He is raw and one we have got to do a lot of work with.”

Merritt has been satisfied with City’s start, but is now looking for them to add to their goal tally.

“We need to be capitalising on our periods of possession by scoring some goals,” he added.

“Three clean sheets is a massive positive and I am pleased with that.

“There have been some solid performance and just generally the way we are starting to knit together is encourgaging, but I’m conscious that when each game comes there are opportunities to get points on the board, and we need to make sure we are converting good spells.”

TOMORROW’S SQUAD

Oxford City: from Scott, Benjamin, Lapoujade, Malone, Santiago, Pond, Brown, Rodriguez, Wilson, Del Alamo, Winters, Stonehouse, Green, Afolabi, Barcelos, Yussuf.

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