MIKE Ford has called for one last push as play-off chasing Banbury United head into their most important weekend of the season.

The Puritans host third-placed Hitchin Town at Spencer Stadium tomorrow, before making the short trip to Leamington, who are second, on Easter Monday.

Ford is delighted his side are still on the cusp of the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division play-offs with three games to go.

Banbury edged out basement boys Cinderford last week, and the Puritans boss says his players are ready for the challenge.

“That result sets up a really exciting weekend,” he said.

“No matter what happens tomorrow, we will still have something to play for on Monday. It’s a tough ask, but we’re still in there.

“The top five have been there all season, so we go into the last three games as complete underdogs.”

Ford believes a lot of people have written his side off this season, but insists there is a lot of belief in his camp.

He said: “Nobody really thinks we can make that top five, except ourselves.

“We’re in a really nice position. We’re under no pressure really, but motivation wise, these are easy games to get up for.”

Whatever happens, Ford has been delighted with the season, but now wants a final push for the top five.

“I would have been sceptical if you had told me that we’d be challenging in our first year in the Premier,” he said.

“It’s not very often teams coming up have ever challenged, so we’ve bucked the trend.

“But we don’t want to take solace from the fact that we’ve had a fantastic season.

“We can’t use that as compensation if we don’t make the top five.

“The lads are in good spirits, and at this stage of the season, the sides above us might get edgy.

“There are strange results at this time of the year, so hopefully we will go into the last game of the season still in with a shout.”

George Nash, who missed last weekend’s trip to Cinderford with a bug, returns, but Callum White (bruised kidneys) remains sidelined.

North Leigh welcome back Lewis Clayton for the visit of Paulton Rovers tomorrow and the short trip to Didcot Town on Monday.

The goalkeeper was recalled by parent club Cheltenham Town last week, meaning Morgan Williams had to go between the sticks against Yate.

He was back in goal during midweek and is available for the two Easter weekend games.

Lance Williams (foot) is doubtful, but Stuart Hole (back) returns.

Didcot travel to Larkhall Athletic tomorrow, before hosting the Millers on Monday.

Jack Longford and Ryan Barney are ruled out (both knee), while Josh Baines (ankle) is doubtful.

There will also be a late fitness test for Ross Tanner (ribs), but Sam Elkins is suspended.

Relegated Wantage Town host Slimbridge tomorrow and travel to Swindon Supermarine on Easter Monday.

In Division 1 Central, Kidlington host promotion-chasing AFC Dunstable, before travelling to Aylesbury United two days later.

Kristian Thomas returns after a long-term injury lay-off, but Henry Owen and Ben Weedon remain sidelined.


Banbury Utd (v Hitchin Tn, home): from Harding, Bradbury, Martin, Westbrook, Carnell, McEachran, Nash, Johnson, McDonagh, Winters, Odhiambo, Duku, Humphreys, Bell, Browne, Self.

North Leigh (v Paulton Rov, home): Clayton, Lymn, D James, Turk, Hole, Wellon, Thomas, L Williams, Seacole, Cook, Hopkins, Gunn, Wyatt, James, M Williams.

Didcot Tn (v Larkhall Ath, away): from Bedwell, Thomas, Janes, Ballard, Learoyd, Barder, McNish, B Whitehead, Joyce, Reid, Jeacock, Thorne, H Whitehead, Anrady, Hoskin, Cattell, Baines.

Kidlington (v AFC Dunstable, home): from Warrell, Tetek, Willoughby, Quainton, Flanagan, Franklin, Castle, Coyle, Osborne-Ricketts, Gabbidon, Thomas, James, Harvey, A Odhiambo, E Odhiambo, Dunmall.