Former Oxford United captain Mike Ford is relishing a return to management with Banbury United, after spending more than a year out of the game.

The Puritans interviewed candidates on Thursday and Ford, who was axed as Oxford City boss at the end of the 2013/14 season, accepted the job yesterday.

Banbury, who were relegated from the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division this season, advertised the job last week, with then-manager Paul Davis saying he would not reapply for the position.

Ford, who won promotion to Conference North with City, feels the time is right to return.

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“I am very excited by it – the club has got a lot of potential,” he said.

“The vibe I am getting is that it is a brand new start and an opportunity to move forward.”

He continued: “It has been a good break.

“The only time I missed being involved was around about Christmas because it is football time.

“Towards the end of the season, I thought ‘I have been out of it long enough and I want a challenge’.

“I’m looking forward to getting started and making a difference.”

Banbury will join Didcot Town, North Leigh and Wantage Town in Southern League Division 1 South & West next season and Ford accepts it may take time to turn the club around.

He added: “There are a number of good players here and I would like to keep them, but they need to buy into what I want to try and do.

“When I am sat in the dugout, I want to see a product that I will enjoy watching myself.

“I want them to be able to play in a relaxed manner, to get the ball down and play in a fearless way.

“The supporters need to show patience because I have looked at the stats and Banbury have fallen away somewhat.

“There are some clubs that have overtaken them and we need to start making small steps to recover ground.

“It will not necessarily be done overnight.”