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FOOTBALL: Duo hand Oxford City a pre-season lift
N E W L Y-P R O M O T E D Oxford City have received a massive boost after experienced duo Steve Basham and Chris Willmott, pledged their future to the Court Place Farm outfit.
Basham, 33, scored 22 goals in all competitions, while his former Oxford United teammate Willmott, 34, was a vital part of the defence as City won promotion to the Blue Square Bet Conference with a 4-2 play-off victory against AFC Totton.
And although the former Oxford United duo have not yet put pen to paper on deals, boss Mike Ford feels it is just a formality.
City will find out tomorrow whether they will placed in the South or North Division, but Ford is delighted with the positive nature of the club’s first transfer activity of the summer.
“Both have verbally agreed to sign,” Ford said. “I would be gobsmacked if they changed their minds.
“In their own ways, they are both big players. They set a fantastic example last season. They are very professional in the way they go about things.
“They are superb fellows to have around the place and they give their honest opinions.
“We are a largely young team, but experience will count for a lot next season.
“And for any young player looking to progress, there are no better role models than Steve and Chris.”
City are now hoping that defender James Clarke will agree to stay.
Ford added: “James has been offered a new contract and we are just waiting to hear back from him.”
The future of keeper Jason Mooney, who was on a season-long-loan at City from Wycombe last season, should become clearer next week following his release by the Chairboys.
“I have had a conversation with Jason and he has had a trial at League Two Cheltenham, so we’re waiting to see how they get on in the play-off final (this Sunday),” said Ford.
“We want him to stay. He’ll obviously be playing part-time and maybe we can help find him a part-time job.”
Meanwhile, Ford said it had been a frustrating time as he waits to find out what division City will be placed in for next season.
“A lot of players have shown interest in coming here, but I can’t do anything until we know where we are playing and how it will impact on my budget.”