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FOOTBALL: Ford confident new boys will reap reward for City
Oxford City boss Mike Ford feels his side are better equipped this time around when they kick off their second season at this level at home to Harrogate Town tomorrow.
While retaining most of the squad that finished tenth, Ford has added eight new signings who he thinks will add more guile.
However, Andy Gunn is no longer part of Ford’s plans after the defender was released.
Ford said: “It was a hard decision and he’s really unlucky, but I’ve got two centre backs who are ahead of him.
“When I looked at my squad over pre-season, I thought he’d fallen behind a bit.”
Among Ford’s acquisitions are former Oxford United midfielder Tom Winters, ex-Bedford Town striker Will Green, Worcester City hitman Mike Symons, ex-Salisbury keeper Mark Scott, defender James Clifton, Lee Henderson and Albi Skendi, who has re-signed from Banbury United.
“People have mentioned second-season syndrome, but I don’t think it will be a problem,” said Ford.
“Teams do know more about us than last season, but with the signings we have made, I feel we are going to be better equipped to deal with what we will face week-in, week-out.
“This year we’ll be more adept at getting results.
“Our aims are to achieve more points, score more goals and concede less at the other end and I think we have bought better players in.
“I think we’re going to have more of a goal threat.”
Meanwhile, Ford said he and the players were raring to go.
Ford added: “We’ve been like that for two weeks – the Skrill Premier have already played two games – so it seems to have been an unbelievably long pre-season.
“I’m pretty sure of nine of the starting 11, so I got a few decisions and difficult conversations before tomorrow.”
Adam Maabdi and Victor Francoz are not part of the squad as they are awaiting international clearance.
The Frenchmen, who arr-ived as a result of the efforts of new president Thomas Guerriero, have been on trial.
“They have both done extre-mely well,” added Ford.
“They are unlikely to be involved Saturday, but I hope their clearances come through soon.”
Winters, Green, Symons, Clifton and Henderson could all make their debuts, while Scott and Skendi their return bows. l
Members of the Armed Forces can attend all City’s home league games at Marsh Lane for free as part of the club’s tie-up with the Combat Stress charity .
IN: M Scott (Salisbury), L Henderson (Didcot Tn), T Winters, J Clifton (both Brackley Tn), W Green (Bedford Tn), M Symons (Worcester City), A Skendi (Banbury Utd).
OUT: K Sanders (North Leigh), A Gunn.
Oxford City (v Harrogate Tn, home): from Scott, Clifton, Learoyd, Willmott, Henderson, Stonehouse, Benjamin, Winters, Pond, Ballard, Malone, McNish, Cook, Basham, Green, Symons, Skendi.
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