BANBURY United boss Mike Ford knows his side have a target on their backs when they host Hitchin Town tomorrow.

After losing in their Emirates FA Cup first qualifying round replay at Gainsborough Trinity in midweek, the Puritans return to BetVictor Southern League Premier Central action.

Banbury are top of the table after a superb start to the campaign, with Hitchin struggling with just one point from five matches.

Ford is aware his side will be expected to collect the three points, but knows their league position means they will be targeted by their rivals.

“Teams will be out to beat us,” he said. “Hitchin will be desperate to get off the mark so we will need to be switched on.”

He added: “We need to make sure we convert our chances – we were guilty of not taking them against Gainsborough.”

Pablo Haysham is pushing for a start after returning to fitness with several substitute appearances.

North Leigh will look to continue their fine start when they entertain Bedford Town at Eynsham Park in Division 1 Central.

A 2-1 win in the FA Cup last weekend was their fourth victory in five games, and boss Craig Dore has been delighted with his team’s recent performances.

He said: “I’ve been really pleased with the boys’ application after the last few weeks.

“We’ve had some difficult matches, but things are definitely going in the right direction.

“Bedford are always a tough side to play, but confidence is high, and we’re looking for three points.”

Ben Brown (hamstring) is ruled out, while George Seacole is at a wedding and Josh Dutton-Black has work commitments.

Keeper Mo Otyuo has left the club, but Billy Gillett and Michael Alexis return.

Wantage Town have endured a tough start to the season, but joint manager Matt Biddle is confident that they can turn the corner.

They return to league action against Berkhamsted tomorrow, who are unbeaten.

“The last week has been all about cup games, but we can put that behind us and look to move in the right direction in the league,” he said.

“We are optimistic and happy with the progress we are making as a squad, and I’m sure we can start picking up points soon.”

Wantage have no new injury concerns.

Thame United boss Mark West says a blank week has been a blessing in disguise as his side prepare to travel to Welwyn Garden City.

Thame are second from bottom, but were without a game last weekend after their early FA Cup exit.

“It was good to have a rest,” he said. “It just hasn’t happened for us yet, but these things happen, you just have to get on with it.

“The lads have simply got to play better. We’ve given away some of the worst goals you can think of, and we have to do better.

“We trained hard last Saturday and did the same in the week, and hopefully something will happen when we go to Welwyn.”

Harry Mepham, Noah Alabi and Lynton Goss are all out through injury, while Ben Sturgess is on his honeymoon.

Matt Peake-Pijnen is back after a holiday.

Didcot Town are withough Mark Bell (holiday) and Joe Green (ankle) for their home clash with St Neots Town.

Jamie Heapy’s side enjoyed a confidence-boosting 2-1 win over Kidlington on Wednesday night in the Southern League Cup, securing victory with a last-gasp Ollie Thomas penalty.

Jamal Smith had put Kidlington ahead, before George Reid levelled in a match preceded by a minute’s silence for Kidlington stalwart John Harvey, who died this week.

“I can’t fault the work rate and attitude of the players, but we just need to be more clinical in front of goal,” said Heapy.

“We need to keep working hard and we will get our rewards.”

Kidlington host Biggleswade tomorrow, knowing a win will see them climb into the top half of the table.


Banbury Utd (v Hitchin, home): from Harding, Okito, Roberts, Westbrook, Hawtin, Rasulo, Dias, Cayola, Johnson, Henderson, Mills, Odhiambo, Anderson, Gordon, Ngaah, Silva, Macdonald, Haysham.

Didcot Tn (v St Neots Tn, home): from Jacucha, Carnell, Dark, Talboys, Nash, Thomas, Reid, Pin, Francis, McNeill, Hayden, Humphries, Mattimore, Collins, Gardner, Heapy, Gilmore.

North Leigh (v Bedford Tn, home): from Cavanagh, Learoyd, Gunn, Ngathe, Grant, McNish, Williams, A Woodley, Hunte, Gillett, Alexis, Elliott, James, Grant.

Wantage Tn (v Berkhamsted, home): from McCready, Lee, Jackson, Cox, Pettet, Buchanan, Markham, Glover, Thorne, Stanley, Dunmall, Hartley, Dalton, White, Fullerton, Thorpe, Mutero, Drammeh, Buchanon.

Thame Utd (v Welwyn Garden City, away): from Hill, Lynn, Essex, Mapley, Hackett, Sturgess, Ashworth, Martin, West, Gledhill, Murray, Evans, Simms, Tutton, Harris.

Kidlington (v Biggleswade, home): from Lawrence, West, Martin, Gabbidon, Coyle, Castle, Osborne-Ricketts, Benjamin, Patterson, Willoughby, Williams, Howards, Odhiambo, Singh, Quarterman, Jordan.