BANBURY United boss Mike Ford is gearing up for a big month as his side travel to Nuneaton Borough.

The Puritans face a tricky trip to Warwickshire, before facing three of the four teams above them in BetVictor Southern League Premier Central.

It comes after Banbury picked up six points from a possible nine over Christmas and boss Ford is looking to continue that form.

He said: “We have a lot of tough games coming up this month, but league positions are irrelevant at this stage, it’s only after 42 games that it matters.

“We have a points tally that we are looking to achieve, and we are on track.”

Yesterday Banbury signed midfielder Jenson Wright on a dual registration basis from Oxford City and Northampton Town centre back Ryan Hughes on a month’s loan.

City midfielder Craig Fasanmade has had a month added to his loan spell, but Morgan Roberts has been recalled by parent club Northampton.

Ford added: “Morgan has been brilliant for us since he joined us. He has a fantastic attitude and lots of ability, and so we’re obviously disappointed to lose him.

“But Northampton had a 24-hour recall option in the second month of his loan spell, and so he has left us now.”

In Division 1 Central, sixth-placed Thame United entertain Bedford Town, who are only below Mark West’s side on goal difference.

Thame only gained four points over Christmas but remain in the play-off mix and West is gunning for victory.

He said: “If we want to end up where we want to be, this is a game we have to win.”

The manager added: “We’ve not had a bad Christmas, but it could have been better. I felt we should have beaten Aylesbury.

“We’ve been on a good run, and it was disappointing for that to end with a defeat at North Leigh, but it’s how we respond to that which matters.”

West has a full squad to choose from, with defender Carl Davies included after joining from Bracknell Town.

Didcot Town are without Ollie Thomas for the visit of fellow strugglers Kempston Rovers.

The defender has been ruled out for at least the next two games with an ankle injury, while Jack Longford (thigh) is also a doubt.

Long-term absentee Josh Pin is waiting for a scan on his hip injury, but Liam Talboys returns from holiday.

Manager Jamie Heapy said: “The spirit in the camp is very good and we’re looking to build on last week’s point against Aylesbury.

“I felt we deserved three points last week, but conceded in stoppage time which was very frustrating.

“But we remain positive and keep working hard.”

Wantage Town host Welwyn Garden City looking for back-to-back home triumphs.

Ross Roberts (ankle and knee), Brad Singh and Jack Buchanan face are doubtful, while Joey Broadbank is unavailable.

Joe Hartley returns after a long-term absence.

Although the 1-0 win over North Leigh on New Year’s Day was followed by a 2-0 defeat at Aylesbury United, joint manager Matt Biddle believes a change of fortunes is around the corner.

He said: “We were all delighted to get that first win, but the work doesn’t stop.

“Our aim is to string a run of results together, and it was disappointing to lose at Aylesbury, but we had to make six changes due to injury, illness and unavailability.

“When we played Welwyn earlier in the season, we lost in the last minute, and I think with a new team we can run them close again.”

North Leigh visit high-flying Berkhamsted, while Kidlington make the trip to Daventry Town.


Banbury Utd (v Nuneaton Borough, away): from Harding, Roberts, Isaac, Westbrook, Hawtin, Rasulo, Haysham, Awadh, Mills, Shamsi, Fasanmade, Odhiambo, Johnson, Macdonald, Barnett, Wright, Hughes.

Thame Utd (v Bedford Tn, home): from Hill, Lynn, Mapley, Hackett, Davies, Essex, Ashworth, West, Murray, Evans, Simms, Harris, Blake, Toney-Green, Peake-Pijnen, Balogun, Sturgess, Tack.

North Leigh (v Berkhamsted, away): from Lapworth, Ngathe, Gunn, Learoyd, McSkelly, Grant, M Williams, Woodley, L Williams, McNish, Seacole, Gillett, Alexis, Landers, Alabi.

Didcot Tn (v Kempston Rovers, home): from Bedwell, Carnell, Green, Isaac, Nash, Hayden, Silva, Francis, Dark, Reid, Collins, Stanley, Bell, Humphries, Longford, Gilmore, Talboys.

Wantage Tn (v Welwyn Garden City, home): from McKenzie-Lyle, Webster, Tuttle, Fry, Mutero, Regrugui, Singh, Martei, Shakti, McKeon, Sykes, Shaw, Glover, Ibie, Sule, Hartley, Jones, McGory, Broadley.

Kidlington (v Daventry Tn, away): from Lawrence, Blackstock, Castle, Martin, West, Gabbidon, Willoughby, Benjamin, A Odhiambo, E Odhiambo, Howards, Tooke, Williams, Smith, Peart, Osborne-Ricketts.