FOOTBALL: Didcot fired up for big test

Oxford Mail: North Leigh boss Mark Gee is expecting a tough battle North Leigh boss Mark Gee is expecting a tough battle

Didcot Town and North Leigh are each looking to recover from recent poor form as well as claim local bragging rights when they meet in Calor League Division 1 South & West at Draycott Engineering Loop Meadow on Boxing Day (3pm).

The Railwaymen are winless in four games, while North Leigh have been knocked from the summit after losing four of their last seven matches.

It will be the third time the two sides have met this season, North Leigh winning the first league fixture 2-1 in August, before Didcot exacted revenge in the FA Cup first qualifying round by the same scoreline.

“I’m looking forward to a nice local derby,” said Didcot joint manager Ian Concannon.

"Some of the players will have played for both clubs which will add extra spice.

“We tend to do well against the better sides, so it should be a good game.”

North Leigh boss Mark Gee is anticipating a fierce battle.

“They’ve had a change in manager and adopted a more positive approach, which seems to have brought about an improvement in their results,” he said.

“I don’t think our league positions matter; we know they’re tough opposition just as we would be if the positions were reversed.

“It’s a local derby and there are plenty of players who have played for both, so there’s a lot of local interest.”

Didcot could give debuts to centre back Tom Franklin, who has joined from AFC Hinksey having previously played for North Leigh, and Reading academy striker Germaine Ofori, who has joined on a season-long loan.

Pablo Haysham and Kamran Abbassi are suspended.

North Leigh can call on the services of former Oxford United midfielder Aaron Woodley, who returns from a hamstring injury.

Didcot Tn: Williams, J Parish, Janes, McKirnan, Elkins, S Parish, Dutton-Black, Longford, Mills, Whitehead, Thorne, Thomas, McDonald, Baines, Carnell, Franklin, Ofori.

North Leigh: from White, Hole, Turk, Gunn, Westlake, Else, Osborne-Ricketts, McDonagh, Bowles, Williams, Walcott, Dobson, Alexis, Caton, Woodley.

Banbury United will be without the suspended Wayne Blossom and Tom Ryan as they travel to Premier Division leaders Hemel Hempstead Town.

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