Saturday 15th December 2018
Banbury United v Kettering Town
Southern League Premier Division
Banbury Community Plant Hire Stadium
Banbury United face high flying Kettering Town on Saturday at the Community Plant Hire Stadium hoping to build upon the draw they earned on Tuesday at home to Stourbridge. The point took the visitors to the top of the Southern League Premier Division Central table, but Kettering have three games in hand and are only a point behind and are widely thought to be the best bets for the league title come next April, meaning Banbury have it all to do this weekend if they are to get anything out of the game. United are on a run of five draws and a win in their last six, and whilst they sit just four points off the play-off places, they have played more games than most of the sides above them, so anything they can gain this week against the side that reached the FA Cup fourth qualifying round will be seen as a bonus.
This week Sports Shots caught up with Puritan defender Charlie Wise and asked how his season has been so far:
The season so far has just been ok. On a personal note I have been pleased with the amount of games I have played and it’s been the first time at Banbury that I have started the season and kept my place. The season started really well in terms of both results and performances, putting early points on the board, for myself starting the campaign as the captain due to Ricky being injured helped me and my levels of performance. I think through September I probably had a couple of games where I wasn’t at my highest level which coincided with us dropping some points, but I have been happier with my levels since then and feel like I have contributed well towards the team
How did Charlie end up at Banbury and what is it like as a club?
I have been at Banbury for four years now albeit with a couple of small spells away and an injury, I signed when I was nineteen whilst I was playing for Brackley Town Saints, Banbury put in their seven dayer for me and the opportunity to play at a higher level, which at the time was Southern League Division One, was simply too good to turn down. Being part of a team that got promoted at the first time of asking was special, and a year of football I will never forget! This really is a great non-league football club, from the board, the management staff, players, all the way to the fans, everybody here plays a part. For a young player like myself, this football club has given so many opportunities that others wouldn’t and all you have to do is look at the age of the current squad to see that. The fact that this is a community owned and run club really does make a difference, and you can see that week in week out by the commitment shown by our fans and our volunteers
How good is this current squad?
It’s definitely the best that we’ve had since I have been here, no questions asked. If you look at the players we have, we really should be placed much higher in the league than we are, we have seven or eight players who would in my opinion walk into most sides in this division, and we have a great mixture of experienced & young talented players in defensive areas. If anything it has taken some time for us to understand one another but I think that mentally this squad is not far off being right up there in this division
Which teams have impressed the most so far this season?
That’s a tough one, of those at the top of the table who we have played against, we have put in some really strong performances against and managed to pick up some good points from, Stourbridge & Royston both looked very organised but nobody has stood out and made us think ‘wow’! If anything playing the teams at that end of the table has given us confidence in knowing we really are just as good and should be up there challenging
Four consecutive draws going into this game, how have these games been?
We have a bit of a habit at the moment of drawing games I know, but this is an improvement on September / October where these games would have been lost by the odd goal. I think we can look at both the Lowestoft and Stourbridge games and feel unlucky that we have not picked up all three points as we had enough chances to win both matches comfortably, the Needham game was a bit different where defensively both sides were poor so as a defender, I have to thank our strikers & wide players for getting us out of a hole and grabbing a point
We asked Charlie what he expects from Kettering and how the squad will prepare:
To be totally honest, personally I don’t know anything about them apart from that they have won a few games. I know that our management will have done their homework and when we get to training on Thursday it will be passed on and we will plan on how to win the game. I think if we do everything right from our point of view, and use the pace we have up front, with the determination we have not to concede at the back then we can beat any team in this division, and that includes Kettering!
With Banbury in twelfth place in the table, does Charlie feel this is a fair reflection of the season so far?
League position is always a fair reflection of the season as points don’t lie after twenty odd games, the simple fact is that we haven’t got as many as we expect from ourselves. We are still in a position where seven points separate the play-offs and seventeenth place so there is a real chance to string some wins together and quickly climb that table. Everyone here knows that we need to win more games and we need to do that sooner rather than later, but entering a very heavily congested month is good because it gives us a chance to do exactly that
Finally we asked Charlie if seeing the constant changes at Banbury is a worry to him or to his team mates?
I think the changes are credit to the depth that we have all over the pitch, as a player it is your job to always do your best and make sure that you are at the best level that you can be, it’s not something to worry yourself about, just do your best and deep down everybody knows that if they are giving their best then the manager picks the eleven which he feels will perform the best on the day, that’s just football. We have a really good squad with a lot of good players which can only keep people on their toes and performing well
Sports Shots would like to thank Charlie for his time this week