SL P; Banbury defender happy to be a Puritan and no Kid-ding

Saturday 9th February 2019

Royston Town v Banbury United

Southern League Premier Division

Garden Walk

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United travel to Royston Town this weekend looking to avenge their last minute defeat they suffered at their hands back in October at the Community Hire Stadium, and with it claim back some points after being docked four last week after an administrative error earlier in the season. The points deduction seriously hampers the clubs attempts to make the Southern Football League Premier Division Central play-off places, especially after a good January saw them only lose once in five games as they now find themselves twelve points off fifth place with just fourteen league games left to play, but they can build on their last two impressive results where a four goal mauling of Coalville was only blighted by two late goals, followed by a good one all draw at AFC Rushden & Diamonds two weeks ago. A win this week could push them back up the two places they lost in the league table after the points adjustment, and they come up against a Town side that have won just one league game at home since mid-October, can Banbury continue their recent good form?

Harry Whitehead

This week Sports Shots caught up with United defender Harry Whitehead to ask how long he’s been at the club and how it all came about:

I joined the club back in the summer. Towards the end of last season I’d been speaking to Eddie Odhiambo who was with me at Kidlington last year, he spoke to the gaffer about me and from there I enjoyed a tough but enjoyable pre-season at Banbury. This had a massive influence on me joining the club, the training was of a high standard, the set up was very professional & the gaffer explained his intentions on helping me to improve as a player. I found settling in really easy, the lads are all great and knowing a couple of them prior to joining really helped. I knew Charlie Hawtin from when I was at Oxford & obviously Eddie, Lewis Gabbidon, Darius Browne and Mark Bell from Kidlington

How does Harry feel his season has been so far?

I felt like I had a really positive pre-season and I was feeling fit and playing well, but then towards the end I missed a couple of games and the team were doing really well and picking up points so it was difficult to get back in so I went on a short term loan to Kidlington to get some game time and get match fit, something I and the gaffer felt was best for me. Since coming back I’ve tried to take the chance when it has been given to me and I’ve tried to help the team as much as I can. Even when I’m on the bench I’m working hard in training and learning from the likes of Lee Henderson and Charlie Wise who have much more experience than me at this level which is really helpful

How good is this Banbury squad?

The squad is probably the best I’ve played in. I can’t single out individuals who have really impressed me as everyone has impressed me in their own positions

So what is Harry’s best position in the team?

This a funny one, up until December twenty-seventeen I had played as a striker for my whole career. However, I now find myself as a centre back, but if I’m honest I’d play anywhere as you may have seen this season. But so far in this team my favoured position is probably the left side centre back

How has Harry’s football pathway led him to Banbury?

Being from Kidlington I started out in their junior sides until the age of seven when I was picked up by Oxford United. I stayed there until the under fifteen season finished and then I left to focus on my education. When I left I joined Kidlington reserves for a couple of seasons before making the step up to the first team a few seasons back. I played in the first team at Kidlington for about a year and a half before joining Banbury

Defeat at Stourbridge, a win over Coalville and a creditable draw at Rushden, how were these games?

I think the defeat at Stourbridge was a hard one to take, obviously they are very good side and their league position reflects that but I felt on the day we were the better side. They had two chances and took them both and we had chances but weren’t clinical enough, whereas against Coalville we took the chances we made for ourselves, stuck to our principles and got a good result. The result at Rushden was probably fair, it was a very scrappy game on a difficult pitch. But the main thing from that game is that we came away with something

Royston this week, a disappointing last minute defeat earlier in the season against them, what does Harry remember of this game and what do they need to do to get something this time?

I remember this game being one soon after I came back from my loan at Kidlington, they were a quick, physical side who played very direct football. I remember them scoring a wonder goal in the dying seconds of the game to take the three points from us. It wasn’t a nice feeling after thinking we’d done enough to get something from the game. I think we will work on a few things in training this week, how to deal with their threats and nullify any danger but also work on how we are going to play away from home, take our chances and get a result

Finally, we asked Harry to pick a player to go on any television programme, and explain why:

I’d love to see Charlie Hawtin go on Love Island. I think he’d go on to win it and take all the money for himself!

Sports Shots would like to thank Harry for his time this week

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