SLP; Banbury v Farnborough preview with Jack Self & George Nash

Saturday 10th March 2018

Banbury United v Farnborough

Southern League Premier

Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury take on Farnborough on Saturday at the Plant Hire Community Stadium looking to extend their recent six-game unbeaten run and keep alive their faint hopes of making the divisional play-offs come the end of the season. Having drawn their last two league fixtures Mike Ford and his side will be looking to get back to winning ways and gain some confidence ahead of their Oxfordshire Senior Cup semi-final on Tuesday night, where they face Kidlington for the right to face Oxford City in the final. However, Farnborough have won their last three league games, and beat United back in January in the reverse league fixture, so another tough battle is guaranteed.

Ahead of the game, Sports Shots caught up with Puritan midfielders Jack Self and George Nash, and asked Jack what the squad have done with their weather enforced time off:

The squad have been working hard in preparation for each game as normal, we prepared for St Neots hoping we wouldn’t be beaten by the weather but unfortunately the ‘beast from the east’ took over. So, we’ve trained this week with the view to Saturday’s game, making sure we’re set up physically & tactically

George discussed the positives of having a break:

I’d say the rest has come as both a help and a hindrance really. Given our recent run of good results, you could say a two-week break has the potential to disrupt the momentum we’ve picked up in this run, but with the recent spout of injuries & illness among the squad it gives us the opportunity to recover and replenish our numbers

We asked Jack what Banbury have learnt this season about their visitors:

We have faced them three times already this season, so we know a fair bit about the way they play, and despite the disappointing results against them, our performances have deserved much more. But we’re in a results industry so we need a good result to back up what will hopefully be a good display

Jack Self

George agreed:

We know our performances in the games against Farnborough this season haven’t been to the standards we set ourselves, and our results in those games reflect that. That said, Farnborough are a committed & hard-working side, and so we know this will be a tough game, all three games against them this term have been. We need to make sure we stamp our authority on the game as early as we can, and play at the intensity & in the manner we have tried to all season

We asked George if the recent number of changes to the playing squad has affected things:

Most of our lads have been around the non-league game long enough to know that squad changes are somewhat of an inevitability. It’s not something we can control or affect, so I don’t think it has had too much of an impact – we just need to accept it and remain focused. If anything, I guess it reinforces how – be it Southern League or Premier League – a place in a squad is never a given right, and that each week you’re having to stake your claim for a starting place

Jack looked at the number of draws of late:

Since the turn of the year we have been more mature in our performances, controlling the majority of games. Three of the four draws we’ve had, we were leading going into the latter stages of the game. It’s important now we maintain our focus and protect our goal right until the final whistle

We asked both players for their thoughts on their own personal season so far, Jack first:

I’d like to think I’ve had a good season especially since the turn of the year, I’ve contributed towards the ‘goals for’ column and believe I’ve played a key part in our recent upturn in form. I’d love to reach double figures by the end of the season but more importantly achieve the highest possible league position we can

George Nash

George wants more consistency:

Speaking candidly, I’d probably say my own personal season has matched that of the team. I’ve had some good games, and some not so good. One thing I am consistently striving for in my game, is funnily enough, consistency! I perhaps haven’t maintained the high levels I set for myself for long enough. I’d like to have chipped in with a few more goals, but I understand that isn’t my role in the side – that, and if I could only stop those nosebleeds every time I cross the halfway line!

Rounding up, we asked if George believes Banbury can still make a play-off place:

It’s a cliché but we just have to take each game as it comes. Collectively we’ve set goals for ourselves between now and the end of the season, so first and foremost we’ll aim to meet those. Whether a play-off place then comes into the equation remains to be seen

Jack thinks it is possible:

I believe we’re more than capable of reaching the play-offs. We have to win all our games and keep putting the pressure on those teams above us to make sure we’re in the picture come the end of the season

Sports Shots would like to thank George & Jack for their time this week.

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