NORTH Leigh manager John Brough has announced that he will be stepping down from the role at the end of the season.

Brough, who has been in charge at Eynsham Park for two seasons, believes the time is right for both himself and the club to move on, after a challenging second year.

The Millers had a hugely successful first season under the former Cinderford boss, as he oversaw the club’s best-ever run in the FA Cup, victory in the Oxfordshire Senior Cup and a challenge for the Evo-Stik South League play-offs.

He said: “This year has been a big disappointment.

“This was due in a large part to the budget cut that we had to endure.

“The chairman (Pete King) has worked so hard, but I feel that the club needs more support through the turnstiles.

“Finances have been tough, and they still are. I think the club will look to utilise more local young players that want to play for us going forwards.”

Brough admits that fighting a battle against relegation from the West Division, in the face of budget cuts, has taken its toll on him personally, although he has been encouraged by their recent upturn in fortunes.

“We struggled to recruit last summer when the budget was reduced.

“That isn’t the fault of anyone at the club, but it is due to the general situation here.

“The last few games I have got my motivation back because of the form of the young lads I’ve brought through from the reserves.

“But I feel it’s time for a change for the sake of both the club and myself.

“It’s been a real pleasure working for this club, and whoever takes over from me has a good place to work at, and I really do wish them well.

“For me, I don’t have any plans in place, but I will look to recharge my batteries and go again somewhere. I will certainly keep in touch with the club.”

Meanwhile, the Millers are one of a handful of clubs who will benefit from the league’s decision to extend the season by one week.

Due to an exceptionally wet winter and spring, the Millers still have eight games to play.

It means they will host Cinderford in the week after the official end of the season, although the date has yet to be confirmed.

Brough said: “I’ve said many times, as have other managers, that we should see more midweek games earlier in the season with the drier weather.”

“This year has probably been as bad as any, it’s very tough to get a team out when you are playing three or four times a week.”

North Leigh, who were due to play a rearranged derby at home to Kidlington last night, host Cirencester Town tomorrow.

The Millers could face Ryan Paddock, who has left them to join the Gloucestershire set-up.

Didcot Town’s battle for the Evo-Stik South League play-offs looks like it will go down to the wire as they flirt between seventh and sixth place in the West Division.

The Railwaymen’s brilliant 4-0 win at Barnstaple Town last weekend put them back into the final play-off spot, only for Evesham United’s midweek 3-0 win at Kidlington sending them back down to seventh place again.

With five games remaining, including one in hand over Evesham, Didcot’s fate is still very much in their own hands, but boss Andy Ballard knows the importance of picking up every point possible.

He said: “Last Saturday was crucial for us. After a long journey against a side that have picked up some decent results recently, we started perfectly.

“We had effectively won the game inside 30 minutes, but instead of sitting back, we produced a professional display to make it a very comfortable afternoon.

“It was important because Evesham are still vying with us for that last play-off spot.

“The game at home to AFC Totton tomorrow is absolutely massive. We lost at their place earlier in the season, so we will look to put that right.”

Callum McNish continues his three-match suspension for Didcot, while Sam Elkins’s troublesome knee injury keeps him sidelined.

Striker Felipe Barcelos and Adam Learoyd return from family commitments, while David Murphy is also back in the squad.

Kidlington, who were involved in a derby clash at North Leigh last night, entertain promotion-chasing Salisbury at Yarnton Road.

In the East Division, Thame United entertain Barton Rovers.

Banbury United were delaying selection for tomorrow’s Premier Division trip to Weymouth match until after their derby clash at home to Stratford-upon Avon last night.

However, the good news for Mike Ford’s side is that defender Charlie Wise, who was thought to have broken his cheekbone in the 1-1 draw at home to Biggleswade Town last Saturday, suffered only bad bruising.

Indeed, he played in the 1-1 draw with Royston on Tuesday.


Didcot Tn (v AFC Totton, home): from Bedwell, Jeacock, Learoyd, Cattell, McNeil, Hayden, Barder, Agyakwa, Reid, Barcelos, Thomas, Ballard, Humphries, Joyce, Woodley, Murphy.