Oxford City have bolstered their ranks ahead of tomorrow’s vital trip to Vanarama Conference North playoff rivals Hednesford Town, writes Marrhew Bruce.

French midfielder Jeremy Balmy has joined on a monthlong loan from neighbours Oxford United, having featured against City for the U’s in a development match on Wednesday.

After impressing in a 2-0 victory for United, City boss Justin Merritt was quick to secure the services of the 20-year-old.

Merritt said: “He did very well. I spoke to (United assistant head coach) Mickey Lewis after the game and he said he’s a talented player who’s just lacked opportunities.

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“With Javi Rodriguez and Darren Pond both injured, it just made sense.

“With his pedigree, his age and they way he likes to play, he fits in well with the ethos we have here.”

Also joining is attacker David Parente, who has recently been playing in America for Oxford City Texas – the indoor football club set up by club president Thomas Guerriero.

The Portuguese futsal international reportedly became the most expensive signing in the history of the Major Arena Soccer League when he joined Guerriero’s side last September, but he is unlikely to play any part for City this weekend.

“David has been playing in Texas, but he’s been injured since Christmas,” said Merritt.

“It’s always been the plan to get him in at some point, as he’s very good technically.

“We know he’s not quite ready yet.”

Guerriero added: “He’s just one example of how the bridge between the United States and the UK is really working out well for us.”

City remain without captain Pond (ankle), Rodriguez (heel) and Darren Mullings (thigh) for the trip to Hednesford, though they are boosted by the return of Luke Coulson.

The hosts are just ahead of City, who are five points from the play-offs.

“It’s a big game, which I think is great,” said Merritt.

“The whole reason I wanted to be involved is so that we can go to places like this and feel that we can win.”

Oxford City (v Hednesford, away): from Salva, Coulson, Benjamin, Stonehouse, Santiago, Lapoujade, Henderson, Fofana, Wilson, Yussuf, Scott, Barcelos, Winters, Del Alamo, Jackson, Murombedzi.