FOOTBALL: We need to finish the job, says Ford

Andy Ballard could return to Oxford City's starting line-up tonight

Andy Ballard could return to Oxford City's starting line-up tonight

First published in Football

Oxford City manager Mike Ford warned his players against complacency as they host fourth-placed Altrincham in Skrill North tonight, writes MATTHEW BRUCE.

City were lifted four points clear of the relegation zone following a five-match unbeaten run, but were brought crashing back to earth with a shattering 6-0 defeat at Gainsborough Trinity on Saturday.

And Ford told his players to expect the race for survival to go to the wire.

“No one has come out and said it, but I just sensed an undercurrent around the club that we had done enough to get over the line,” he said.

“I want to put that to bed straight away. We’re four points clear of the relegation zone, not 14 points clear.

“I’m under no illusions that we are in a relegation scrap until the end.”

Andy Ballard, who was an unused substitute on Saturday, and loanees Josh O’Hanlon and Kayden Jackson, who both missed out entirely, could return to the side as Ford looks to shuffle the pack.

Banbury United are without key players Marvin Martin and Kynan Isaac for the trip to Weymouth in the Calor League Premier Division, as both hobbled off with injuries in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Chippenham Town.

But boss Edwin Stein is remaining upbeat.

“It just means that there’s an opportunity for others,” he said.

“I’m a big believer in opportunity. It served me very well throughout my career and it served my brothers well too.”

TONIGHT’S SQUADS

Oxford City (v Altrincham, home): from Scott, Bulman, Benjamin, Stonehouse, Pook, Learoyd, Preece, McEachran, Mullings, Symons, Pond, Winters, Solomon-Otabor, Basham, Cook, Ballard, O’Hanlon, Jackson.

Banbury Utd (v Weymouth, away): from Dutton, Cray, Fathers, Collins, Abrahams, Fishwick, Obeng, Dias, Skendi, Pinto, Green, Evangelinos, Strafford, Tappin, Mullarkey.

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