ANDY Ballard praised his Didcot Town squad as they take their play-off challenge to the west country to take on Yate Town tomorrow.

The Railwaymen’s boss is still on cloud nine after last week’s 3-0 victory against fellow top-five hopefuls Redditch United in the Evo-Stik South League West Division.

Ballard admitted Didcot were not at their best, but the result was crucial in their efforts to step up a play-off challenge.

He said: “Last Saturday was a big result, especially following our defeat to Winchester.

“We have played better this season, but the result says a lot about the squad of players I have.”

“It was important to get back to winning ways, especially as we were missing six players.”

Didcot include Morgan Williams, who re-signed for the club last week, in the squad, while Callum McNish has recovered from injury.

Ballard said: “We will go to Yate full of confidence, but we are wary of how difficult a place it is to go.”

Adam Learoyd and Stuart Cattell return from suspension, while Sam Barder and George Reid are back from holiday.

Meanwhile, Felipe Barcelos has turned down an approach from Swindon Supermarine to stay with Didcot, while Josh Pin has left the club in search of first team football.

North Leigh boss John Brough is undaunted by the monumental task as his struggling side host runaway leaders Taunton Town.

A 5-0 reverse at Wimborne last week extended the Millers’s barren run to nine defeats in the last ten games.

But Brough remains upbeat.

He said: “We are relishing the opportunity to play the top of the league side.

“We know we are going into a game that could end in a similar result to last week, but I am challenging my players to stand up and be counted.

“Surprises can happen.”

Dan James is suspended, while Roger James has left the club.

Kidlington hope to return to winning ways when they travel to Bideford.

The fixture comes just nine days after the side’s fixture at Yarnton Road was abandoned before half-time due to a waterlogged pitch.

Kidlington’s five-match unbeaten run was ended in defeat to Larkhall Athletic last weekend and manager Julian McCalmon will be without the injured Lewis Coyle.

In the East Division, Thame United entertain Cambridge City, looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat at Bedford.

Boss Mark West is calling for improvement.

He said: “We had a few missing last week, and were not at our best. We also missed a penalty, but Bedford deserved to win.

“We need to pick ourselves up as we have a tough run of games, but I’m confident that we can give Cambridge a good test.”

Harry Tucker and Ben Sturgess are ruled out with ankle injuries, while Liam Tack completes his three-match ban.

In the Premier Division, Banbury United boss Mike Ford hopes his side can repeat their last two away performances when they entertain Kings Langley.

A win at Slough and an excellent 1-1 draw at Kings Lynn pleased Ford, even though his side were pegged back in stoppage time in Norfolk.

He said: “We would have taken a 1-1 draw there, but there was some disappointment because they equalised so late in the game.

“But we made life very difficult for them and it was a really good point. We’ve picked up four excellent points from these two away games.”

Ford added: “I am looking for us to turn those away performances into a home performance as that will likely dictate the result.

“We need to play as we know we can. If we don’t give the game enough respect, that is where we could come unstuck.”

Tom Bradbury is set to return from an ankle injury.


Didcot Tn (v Yate Tn, away): from Bedwell, Elkins, Barcelos, Agyakwa, Murphy, Ballard, McNeill, Jeacock, Hayden, Thomas, Woodley, McNish, Learoyd, Cattell, Barder, Reid, Williams.

North Leigh (v Taunton Tn, home): from Grimshaw, Lymn, New, Keightley, Paddock, Simpson, Grabe, Carroll, Harvey, McGlynn, Brough.

Kidlington (v Bideford, away): Warrell, E Odhiambo, Castle, Browne, Whitehead, Franklin, Gabbidon, Osbourne-Ricketts, Benjamin, Martin, Brown, Janes, McDonagh, Williams, Bell, A Odhiambo.

Thame Utd (v Cambridge City, home): from Hill, Murray, A Goss, Lynn, Smyth, Davies, Connell, L Goss, Morris, Johnston, Gledhill, Evans, Harrison, Ricketts, Gray, D West.

Banbury Utd (v Kings Langley, home): from Harding, Pond, Ngathe, Nash, Carnell, Johnson, Hawtin, Self, Sandy, Humphreys, Wyse, Howards, Winters, Awadh, Bradbury.