BANBURY United boss Mike Ford

says his side are relishing their lofty position – but has urged them to keep the hammer down.

And they must do it without top goalscorer Jaanai Gordon, who is leaving ‘to join a club higher up the pyramid in the next few days’.

A 2-1 win over Alvechurch last weekend saw the Puritans consolidate second place, and they are now just a point behind Tamworth, although have played more games.

Banbury travel to Rushall Olympic in the BetVictor Southern League Premier Central Division tomorrow and host the leaders a week later.

Ford is delighted with his side’s position, but knows tough tests await.

“We’ve done OK haven’t we?” he said. “We’ve worked hard to get ourselves into this position and need to enjoy the ride, because at some point it will get tough.

“We’ve got three or four games coming up against top sides, so it will be a big test of where we are.”

The departure of Gordon is a big blow, with a statement by Banbury saying: “He is expected to sign for a club higher up the non-league football pyramid in the next few days. The club made every effort to retain Gordon’s services.”

In Division 1 Central, Thame United boss Mark West is confident his side will continue to climb the table.

A 3-2 win at Daventry Town featured two outstanding goals, particularly a strike from Tom Ashworth.

And West, whose side entertain Biggleswade tomorrow, believes that the amount they are creating will stand them in good stead.

He said: “If we can keep creating, we will take these chances, but we need to back up last week’s win with another.”

Jamie Essex (holiday) is missing.

Didcot Town return to action with a home game against Corby Town.

Joe Green (knee), Lewis Hayden (foot) and Mark Bell (illness) are doubts, while Seth Humphries (ankle), Josh Pin (hip) and Cameron McNeill (banned) are out.

Boss Jamie Heapy said: “With no game last week, I was hoping our injury list would clear up, but that isn’t the case sadly.”

“We know we are in for a tough game against an excellent Corby team, and no doubt they will have lots of quality, but we are looking forward to the challenge.”

Wantage Town joint boss Matt Biddle insists his side will not give up, despite being rooted to the foot of the table.

The Alfredians entertain high-flying Halesowen, and Biddle said: “When the luck is against you, it’s really against you. Nevertheless, we will go again and will keep working as hard as possible

“From the outside, the 5-0 result looks really poor, but I felt it was spoiled by some very poor refereeing decisions and the straight red card for Jared Jones was bizarre.

“Even with ten men, the lads plugged away, but inevitably they tired and once we let in a couple, the heads dropped.”

Owen Shaw (hamstring), Ross Roberts (ankle) and Dan James (knee) are out, while new signing Nash Shakti faces a fitness test on an ankle injury.

Kidlington entertain St Neots Town, while North Leigh host Barton Rovers.


Banbury Utd (v Rushall Olympic, away): from Harding, C Roberts, Odhiambo, Westbrook, Hawtin, Rasulo, Haysham, Dias, Mills, Nesbitt, Isaac, M Roberts, Ahmed, Fasanmade, Johnson, Awadh.

North Leigh (v Barton Rovers, home): from Cavanagh, Ngathe, Gunn, Learoyd, McSkelly, Grant, M Williams, Woodley, L Williams, McNish, Elliott, Seacole, Hunte, Gillett, Alexis, Landers, Heap.

Thame Utd (v Biggleswade, home): from Hill, Lynn, Mapley, Hackett, Sturgess, Ashworth, Martin, West, Murray, Evans, Simms, Harris, Blake, Mealing, Alabi.

Didcot Tn (v Corby Tn, home): from Bedwell, Thomas, Carnell, Green, Isaac, Nash, Hayden, Silva, Francis, Dark, Reid, Collins, Stanley, Gilmore, Mattimore, Bell.

Wantage Tn (v Halesowen Tn, home): from McKenzie-Lyle, Webster, Tuttle, Fry, Mutero, McGory, Broadbank, Regrugui, Singh, Martei, Broadley, Shakti, McKeon, Baker, Sykes, Shaw.