MARK Jones believes he could have a battle on his hands to keep Oxford City’s improving and play-off chasing squad together.

The side site ninth in Vanarama National League South – a point off the top seven – ahead of tomorrow’s trip to St Albans City.

They head to Hertfordshire hoping to bounce back from their New Year’s Day defeat to Hungerford Town, which ended a seven-match unbeaten run.

City’s recent performances have earned the side rave reviews, while top-scorer Kabongo Tshimanga has found the net 21 times.

Boss Jones admits some of his players may get offers elsewhere, but insists the club will do everything they can to keep the squad together during January.

He said: “To give yourself a chance, you have to keep hold of your best players, and we’re looking to do that.

“I don’t think we can control what happens in the window. The players are all under contract, so it’s a good sign that clubs are interested in some of our players.

“But we’ve had no offers for any of our players yet, and unless a deal is good for our club, we will try very hard to keep everybody here.

“We will have to deal with interest as and when it comes. If a club from a higher level comes in, we will have to look at it.”

Meanwhile, Jones is looking for his team to show a reaction at St Albans, who sit just a place below them.

“We didn’t reach the levels we are capable of against Hungerford, it was a very poor performance,” he said.

“I think we were guilty of giving the ball away and looked a little bit off, mentally, physically and technically, and we were punished.

“You can’t be too hard on them as they’ve been doing very well, but I will be looking for a response.

“I couldn’t be too critical, because my players have given everything in the last few months, and we’ve received a lot of praise.”

City have received a positive update on the extent of Zac McEachran’s knee injury, with the diagnosis not as bad as first feared, but he will still be out for a couple more weeks.

Kyran Wiltshire and Joe Oastler are suspended.

Jones added: “We are a bit short on numbers at the back at the moment. We may look to bring in a loan player to bolster us, but it also gives other players an opportunity.”


Oxford City (v St Albans City, away): from King, Jones, Godwin-Malife, Jefford, Ashby, Carter, Nombe, Fleet, Tshimanga, Self, Bawling, Otudeko, Fasanmade, Barrett, O’Donoghue.