8:00am Friday 7th March 2014
By Mark Edwards
Oxford City boss Mike Ford is desperate to sign off a traumatic week on a high.
After seeing his side docked three points on Monday for fielding a player (Liam Malone) while suspended, City lost 1-0 at Skrill North's bottom club Workington 24 hours later.
Ford admits the events of the past few days have taken their toll, but says there is no better way to move forward than claiming three points at home to Leamington on Saturday.
“It has been an eventful week,” he said. “I’m glad it’s all out the way to be honest.
“The points deduction and then a really long trip on Tuesday night where we didn’t deserve anything – it’s been tough.
“I felt we were a little bit off the pace and things did affect us.
“But it’s all gone now. There’s nothing we can do about it and we have to draw a line under it and move on.”
City are firmly entrenched in the relegation zone, but were offered a glimmer of hope on Wednesday when Vauxhall Motors revealed they would resign from the league at the end of the season.
That would mean only two teams will go down, but Ford says it will alter nothing in his side’s approach.
“We are in a relegation scrap, there’s no getting away from it,” he said.
“It’s not nice to see a team fold and we have always enjoyed our matches against Vauxhall Motors.
“But maybe after all that’s gone on this week, there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.
“Having said that, we still have to perform on the football field.”
Ford has been encouraged by the attitude of his players, two of whom this week turned down moves.
Although not wanting to identify the individuals, City’s boss commented: “That was a real positive for me.
“When you have the things going on that we have, you always hope you can use it as a positive and galvanise people.
“Two players have turned down approaches from other clubs, because they didn’t want to be seen as leaving a sinking ship.
“Lee Henderson has agreed a new contract with us too, so there’s lots of positives.
“He’s been a little gem for us really, and that keeps him here to the end of next season which is really good news.”
On-loan Birmingham striker Viv Solomon-Otabor returns to face Leamington, while Zac McEachran and Dan West are also named in the squad.
Oxford City (v Leamington, home): from Scott, Ballard, Stonehouse, Pook, Learoyd, Willmott, Benjamin, McNish, Symons, Pond, Winters, Basham, Cook, Henderson, West, Solomon-Otabor, Jackson, Akubuine, McEachran.
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