BANBURY United boss Mike Ford has called on his players to show what they are made of when they entertain table-toppers Tamworth in tomorrow’s big BetVictor Southern League Premier Division Central clash.

The Puritans are one place and three points behind the Midlanders, and Ford says his side have nothing to lose against a side he believes are hot favourites for the title.

Ford said: “We’re full of confidence. At Rushall last weekend, we played some of our best football of the season, so there is nothing to fear.

“Tamworth will be massive favourites, we will be massive underdogs, because they are expected to be at the top, we’re not.”

A large crowd is anticipated at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium, but Ford, who names an unchanged squad, has called on his players to embrace the atmosphere.

He said: “We’re hoping for a really decent gate. Our crowds have been 400-plus most weeks, but we’ve not had a really bumper crowd yet.

“But if tomorrow’s game doesn’t inspire supporters to come out and watch us, nothing will. It’s massive.”

Banbury must try to maintain their lofty position without Jaanai Gordon after the forward completed a move to Oxford City last week.

But although disappointed to lose the talismanic striker, Ford was quick to wish him well.

“There are no hard feelings,” he said. “We gave him his opportunity and hopefully made him a better player. I am sure he is appreciative for what we did, but if you’re offered a job with better money, it’s tough to turn it down.”

In Division 1 Central, North Leigh are still awaiting on a decision from the league following the postponement of their league game with Biggleswade two weeks’ ago.

The match was called off after the Millers were told to play their Oxfordshire Senior Cup tie at Woodcote & Stoke Row, meaning the league instructed the club to play Biggleswade on the Friday or the Sunday.

Boss Craig Dore said: “It just wasn’t viable for to play in the Senior Cup on Saturday and then have a league game either the day before or the day after.

“The league has written to us to say they are intending to take action against us, but we don’t yet know what that will be. I hope common sense will prevail.”

North Leigh visit derby rivals Kidlington tomorrow as they bid to continue their rise up the table.

Dore said: “Derby games have a tendency to be close-fought, and I’m sure tomorrow will be no different.”

Jamie Heapy’s Didcot Town make the short trip to derby rivals Wantage Town looking to build on an impressive performance at home to Corby last weekend.

Although the Railwaymen lost 1-0 to the table-toppers, Heapy was more pleased with his team’s performance, and wants to see his men take that into a clash with Wantage, who have lost all 15 games this season so far.

“We were really unlucky last Saturday,” Heapy said. “We deserved something out of the game and Corby were hanging on at the end. I am very proud of how my players performed.”

Connor Mattimore is away, but Joe Green, Seth Humphries and Josh Pin could return from injury.

Heapy added: “We’re in pretty good form, but we mustn’t take Wantage lightly. They will be desperate to get their first points and it’s a local derby, so anything can happen.”

Thame United boss Mark West knows his side face a huge ask to maintain their winning run when they travel to leaders Corby Town.

“We’ve got nothing to lose, because Corby are absolutely flying at the moment,” he said.

“For me, there’s nothing to be scared of. Going forward we’ve got plenty to offer. We just need to ensure we stay tight defensively.

“It’s a nice ground and there will be 400-500 people there, so it’s a big test.”

Jamie Essex is set to return.


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

North Leigh (v Kidlington, away): from Lapworth, Ngathe, Gunn, Learoyd, McSkelly, Grant, M Williams, Woodley, L Williams, McNish, Elliott, Seacole, Gillett, Alexis, Landers, Heap.

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

Didcot Tn (v Wantage Tn, away): from Bedwell, Thomas, Carnell, Green, Isaac, Nash, Hayden, Silva, Francis, Dark, Reid, Collins, Stanley, Gilmore, Bell, Humphries, Pin, Longford.

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