8:00am Friday 24th January 2014
By Nick Farrant
Oxford City manager Mike Ford has thrown down a challenge to Mark Bell – make it impossible for me to drop you.
The winger, 23, has put in some excellent displays since winning a place in the side following his return from Skrill Premier side Nuneaton for his third spell at Marsh Lane.
And Ford wants him to keep up his good form when they travel to mid-table Leamington in Skrill North tomorrow.
“Mark got back in the side because Callum McNish was ill and took his chance,” said Ford.
“But it’s no good doing it one week and not the next – he’s got to keep doing it.
“With our set-up, the wide men have to play with pace and energy, but he has to remember to work hard when he doesn’t have the ball.
“Mark has come in and done really well.
“I can’t imagine he won’t be in the side on Saturday.”
However, City are again likely to be without frontman Tom Winters, who has a hamstring problem.
Jamie Cook, who scored a penalty double in Tuesday’s home defeat by leaders North Ferriby United, is expected to take his place in the line-up despite a knee problem.
Meanwhile, despite the defeat Ford was delighted with his side’s display against the table-toppers when they fought back from 2-0 down, only to lose 3-2.
“The overall analysis is probably a bit of frustration because our performance was good.
“We’ve dominated parts of the game against the team at the top.
“We got ourselves back into it and then a minute later we shot ourselves in the foot with a bad piece of defending.
“But we’re looking forward to the trip to Leamington.
“They had a good run and then they lost their striker to Brackley (Stefan Moore).
“And they will see us as a good opportunity for three points.
“But I’m not bothered who we play – we are going to approach it the same way.”
Oxford City (v Leamington, away): from Scott, Benjamin, Stonehouse, Pook, Henderson, Willmott, Bell, Pond, Jackson, Cook, Winters, Malone, McEachran, Symons, Learoyd, Ballard.
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