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FOOTBALL: Malone's in line for City start
Midfielder Liam Malone will start his first game this year when Oxford City host Blue Square Bet North high-fliers Gainsborough Trinity at Marsh Lane tomorrow.
An ankle injury has meant he hasn’t played since Boxing Day when he came on as substitute in their goalless draw at Brackley Town.
Ford thought it would be a while before Malone played again, but was delighted when he trained last week.
And, after a substitute appearance in City’s 3-1 loss at Altrincham, he played a half for Oxford City Nomads against Newbury on Tuesday.
And Ford says he will play against the Lincolnshire side, who boast ex-Oxford United winger Craig Nelthorpe.
“It’s a massive bonus for us to have him back,” said Ford.
“He hasn’t played this year and we have missed him. He gives you a competitive edge and he can pass the ball well.
“He has had a cortisone jab, which some people think is for pain relief. It’s actually an anti-inflammatory, so it’s taken away the swelling.”
Meanwhile, Ford says the side have to defend better.
He added: “When you get to 80 minutes (against Altrincham) and it’s 1-1 you do the best to hold on, but we gave them two goals. It was suicidal.
“It’s a recurring theme because we did the same against Gloucester (a 2-1 loss).
“We are conceding very poor goals. There is collective disorganisation, a collective irresponsibility.
“We had a chat about it on Tuesday and we’ve got to be more disciplined.
“If you aren’t, a team like Gainsborough or Altrincham will punish you.
“Good defending is about anticipating, rather than reacting to what happens.”
City will be without Andy Ballard (ankle) and Steve Basham (calf injury).
Oxford City: from Ingram, Stonehouse, Wilmott, Learoyd, Stanley, Benjamin, Pond, McNish, Barcelos, Holgate, Cook, Bell, Malone, Mulvany, Gunn, McEachran.