ANDY Ballard is in buoyant mood as Oxford City prepare to face Hornchurch in the Buildbase FA Trophy.

City host the Isthmian League Premier Division high-fliers in the third qualifying round tomorrow, fresh from their 6-2 win over Chelmsford City last weekend.

It was the latest good result in a run that has seen them climb the Vanarama National League South table and Ballard wants to keep it going.

“It would be nice to score another six,” City’s interim boss joked.

“But we will just continue to play the same attacking brand of football.

“We’ve scored 14 goals in our last four league games, and that’s a lot to do with us giving the lads some clear direction.

“Previously it was all possession-based, but with no real end product, but we know we have the players that can hurt teams by playing attacking football.

“We don’t really want the ‘Kevin Keegan-type’ team tag, but the hardest thing in football is to score goals, and we’re doing that.

“Obviously we need to strengthen defensively, and that’s the whole 11, not just the defenders.

“The downfall of the way we are playing is that we will concede goals, but we are working hard to tighten that up and capitalise on this momentum.”

City’s 5-1 Emirates FA Cup first round defeat to Solihull Moors was a rare low point in an encouraging few weeks, but Ballard is hoping for a decent run in the Trophy.

He said: “The Trophy is a really good competition and, as Brackley proved (by winning it in 2018), teams at our level can go on good runs in this, and even win it.

“There’s good prize money involved and it’s a competition that can generate some real excitement.

“We will be taking it very seriously and are looking for a consistent run, and that includes in the Trophy.”

The return of defenders Finn Tapp and Eddie Jones from suspension means Ballard has a full-strength squad to choose from tomorrow.

It presents the interim boss with some difficult decisions, which he insists is a nice problem to have.

He said: “It gives us a few selection headaches, but competition for places will help to raise the performance levels as the boys all want to be involved.”

Ballard singled out on-loan Oxford United man Kyran Lofthouse, who starred against Chelmsford.

He said: “Kyran really hit the ground running for us.

“He was fantastic, he was very quick, created lots of opportunities and scored a fantastic goal as well.

“We may struggle to keep him beyond the 28-day initial loan, but I hope we can.”


Oxford City (v Chelmsford City, away): from King, Jones, Jefford, Ashby, Oastler, Tapp, Wiltshire, Fleet, McEachran, Brown, Owusu, Moore-Azille, Benyon, Self, Rowe, Wright, Lofthouse.