ROSS Jenkins reckons an opposition player this weekend represents the growing quality of the Vanarama National League and how it should be deemed an extension of the Football League itself.

Jenkins takes his Oxford City side to Ebbsfleet United on Saturday, facing a side which boasts former Liverpool winger Jordon Ibe among their ranks.

The Kent outfit signed Ibe, who also played for Bournemouth in the Premier League, last month, although the 27-year-old has so far only been limited to just two appearances, both in the Emirates FA Cup.

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Jenkins pinpointed strikers Will Grigg and James Norwood, in addition to Ibe, as examples of the quality that the National League boasts.

Former Northern Ireland and Wigan Athletic star Grigg has netted nine times in the league for Chesterfield this campaign, including a late winner at Court Place Farm in August, while ex-Ipswich Town and Barnsley man Norwood has scored on seven occasions.

Hoops head coach Jenkins said: “The two players that stand out straight away are Chesterfield with Will Grigg and Oldham with Norwood up front. Then you’ve got Ibe at Ebbsfleet and there’s many more.

“The league is tough. We need to understand there’s some great experience at this level now.

“If you think of league football, it should be the third league, so League One, League Two and ‘League Three’.

“That’s how big I think the National League is becoming now, I don’t think it’s a non-league status anymore, I think it’s a League Three.

“Whether they create something like that, that’s something to think about.

“There’s only maybe one or two, or a maximum of three part-timers in the league, so it’s a full-time league and League Three in my opinion.

“We’re playing some league footballers now, we’re not talking about non-league people who are going off to their day job straight after.

“We’re talking about professional footballers whose full-time job is to play football.

“That’s the way I look at it, we’re playing in League Three against professional players week in and week out.

“When you open your eyes to what the level is, you have to appreciate how far we’ve come.”

The Hoops ended a three-game losing run last time out with a thrilling win at home to Woking.

Zac McEachran and Olly Sanderson put City 2-0 up inside half an hour, before Padraig Amond pulled a goal back with just over 20 minutes to go.

Josh Parker restored the two-goal advantage in the 90th minute, but Amond struck again nine minutes into stoppage time.