MARK Jones was delighted to secure the first big signing of Oxford City’s 2019/20 season with Andy Ballard joining him as assistant manager.

The Didcot Town boss will step down after Saturday’s final game of the season and move back to City as No 2 – a club where he made more than 350 appearances as a player.

Ballard has been in charge of the Railwaymen for three seasons and Jones believes he will be a perfect fit.

“We lost Joe Deeney in November and Justin Merritt stepped up from all his other roles at the club and helped out along with Steve Glenister, but we never really replaced Joe,” he said.

“We’ve effectively been working without a designated assistant manager for more than half the season.

“Andy has played a lot of games for City and was a very popular player.

“He has had very good experience at Didcot on limited resources, and we were looking for someone who has that experience as a manager.

“Andy’s an Oxford lad, and everyone is really impressed with what he did at Didcot. He will be a huge asset to the club and we look forward to welcoming him on board.”

Ballard added: “The opportunity at Oxford City is something that I just feel I can’t turn down.

“I’m proud to have been Didcot manager and I am extremely grateful to the club for giving me my first job in management.

“I know it will be a new challenge, but one I am really looking forward to.”

Ross Jenkins will also join City’s management set-up.

The former Watford midfielder, who made 81 appearances in the Championship, will become first team coach next season.

City host Dartford in their final Vanarama National League South game of the campaign on Saturday.

They will be without Eddie Jones, although the defender will return for next week’s Oxfordshire Senior Cup final.

Jones said: “Dartford have been fighting for the play-offs, and will be a tough finish for us. We want to sign off at home with a win to send our supporters home happy.”

Oxford City (v Dartford, home): from King, Oastler, Moore-Azille, Ashby, Fleet, Wiltshire, Case, Self, Tshimanga, Thomas-Asante, Bawling, James, Caro, O’Donohue, Fasanmade, Carter, McEachran.