Oxford City boss Mike Ford believes his side have a great opportunity to put some distance between themselves and the Skrill North relegation zone over the Christmas period, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

City host Gloucester City on Boxing Day (3pm), who are just three points behind in the final relegation place, before making the return journey on New Year’s Day.

“It’s a very important period,” said Ford.

“It will be a test of the players’ fitness, a test of their character and a test of their discipline.

“We’ve got four games coming up and in my mind we can win them all.”

With three games at Marsh Lane in that run, City’s impressive home form will be key.

As well as playing Gloucester, they also entertain second-placed Solihull Moors and bottom club Barrow on the next two Saturdays.

They are unbeaten at home since the start of September, and Ford feels that will help his side to build momentum during the busy festive period.

“We’re at home and our home form is very good,” he added.

“No-one likes coming to us. I don’t know why it is, but other teams definitely struggle to come here and we’ve benefitted from that.”

Steve Basham (leg) and Lee Henderson (calf) are nearing fitness.

However, they will not be ready in time for the visit of Gloucester.

Oxford City: from Scott, Ballard, Stonehouse, Pook, Learoyd, Willmott, Jackson, Benjamin, Robinson, Symonds, Palmer, Cook, Pond, Winters, McNish, Francoz.