8:00am Friday 21st February 2014
By Nick Farrant
Oxford City’s assistant manager Stuart Peace is backing goalkeeper Mark Scott to face up to the challenge when they travel to Barrow in Skrill North tomorrow.
When the sides met earlier this month, the visitors snatched a 1-0 win at Marsh Lane after an error by the former Salisbury No 1.
A poor clearance from Scott was lobbed towards the goal by Phil Marsh, but as the stopper tried to get back he slipped over and the ball went in.
But Peace says he and the rest of the coaching staff have every faith in Scott.
“Mark’s been fine for us,” said Peace. “We’ve no qualms about picking him at all. He’s made so many stops for us this season – he saved two penalties in the 1-1 draw against Workington. He was outstanding in that game.
“It wasn’t the best clearance and he’s slipped over in the heavy conditions.
“It could have happened to anyone. But we had so many chances to win that game.”
Barrow are unbeaten in 11 games and Peace admitted they would present a tough challenge.
He added: “We’ve played North Ferriby (the leaders) in recent weeks and only lost by the odd goal.
“So we are more than capable of beating anyone on our day.
“We are four points from safety, but we’re not overly concerned because we have so many games to catch up on, if we pick up the points.
“But it’s all very well saying it, we’ve now got to do it.”
Striker Steve Basham could make his first start for several months.
The substitute impressed when he replaced fellow frontman Mike Symons and could get the nod.
Peace said: “Steve made a difference when he came on, so it’s a close decision, but that will be down to the gaffer to decide whether he wil be fit enough to be involved.”
City’s players and management will travel north tomorrow morning, which Peace said was not ideal.
He said: “We’re travelling up at 8am. It’s a club decision, probably to do with the money.
“We had an overnight stay in Workington and we’ve got to go back there again.”
Meanwhile, claims that Frome defender Josh Ford had rejected a move to City have been strongly denied.
Boss Mike Ford said: “He came up in general conversation and I was told he was a decent centre half.
“He had been on trial at Hereford, so I spoke to Martin Foyle (ex-U’s striker is their boss) about him.
“But that was as far as it went. Then I got a text message from his dad saying I heard we were interested in signing his son.
“We’re not looking for anyone in that position anyway.”
City will be without their other keeper Victor Francoz, who has just resumed training after recovering from a calf injury.
Barrow have no plans for a pitch inspection.
Oxford City (v Barrow, away): from Scott, Ballard, Stonehouse, Pook, Learoyd, Willmott, Benjamin, McNish, Symons, Pond, Winters, Basham, Cook, Bell, Henderson, West, Jackson, McEachran.
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