ANDY Ballard says Oxford City’s fine run of form has given everyone at the club a huge lift.

But the joint-caretaker manager has warned they cannot take their eye off the ball.

Since Ballard has taken over first-team duties with Justin Merritt, City have gone six Vanarama National League South games without defeat.

Last week’s 2-1 win over Dulwich Hamlet took them to 12th in the table.

But with a busy period coming up, starting with tomorrow’s home game with Maidstone United, Ballard insists that there are no targets, other than to win the next game.

“We’re certainly looking up rather than down, which is obviously a good thing,” he said.

“We’re on a good run for sure, but Maidstone will be a real test for us.

“They’ve got bags of experience in their ranks and would be looking to get back into the National League Premier after coming down last season.

“We’re not setting any targets and are not looking any further ahead than Maidstone, because if we take our eye off the ball, that can prove a downfall.”

Saturday’s victory included a debut for former Banbury striker Jaanai Gordon, after City saw off the challenge of other clubs at National League level for his signature.

“Jaanai is a really good signing for us, and shows our intent,” he said.

“We always keep an eye on local players who are performing well, and we managed to persuade him to join us in the face of some stiff competition.

“His signing brings real competition for places up front and, all of a sudden, we have three or four potent scoring options – you can’t ask for much more than that.”

Although many supporters may even now be dreaming of a play-off push, Ballard and his team are keeping their feet firmly on the ground.

“We’re looking to get positive results in every game, but we’ve got some very tough games coming up,” he said.

“Our only goal is to enter the new year in a healthy position, but we have to keep going, because we could very easily drop down again.

“The Dulwich win last week was massive for us. It wasn’t the greatest of games, but we showed grit and determination to get the job done, throwing our bodies on the line to keep them at bay.”

City go into tomorrow’s game missing defenders Tarik Moore-Azille (hamstring) and skipper Joe Oastler, who has a knee problem.

Ballard said: “Losing Joe is a massive blow. He picked up the injury against Hornchurch, but thankfully a scan has shown it’s nothing too serious and hopefully he won’t be out for long.”

Eddie Jones deputises with the captain’s armband.


Oxford City (v Maidstone Utd, home): from King, Jones, Jefford, Ashby, Tapp, Wiltshire, Fleet, McEachran, Brown, Owusu, Benyon, Self, Rowe, Wright, Lofthouse, Berkoe, Gordon.