The Bulls’ much needed 4-1 victory over Farsley Celtic last Saturday has set Paul Caddis’ side up for a potential surge towards the play-off positions. However, Hereford must keep winning with the Easter matches seemingly crucial. First up it’s a short trip to Banbury before the Monday Bank Holiday match against Buxton at Edgar Street.

Banbury are really struggling at present. Their 3-0 loss to South Shields on Tuesday was the Puritans 9th defeat in a row. Definitely relegation form. The question is can Hereford maintain the pressure enveloping Banbury and boss Kevin Wilson?

The Puritans are fully fan owned and thus have found finances very difficult. They’ve lost 6 Saturday games to postponements all caused by a pitch flooded by a nearby river. The disruption and their miserable home form has shrunk their fan base. Their current average of 620 is lower than in their step 3 days. Lower too than Step 5 Worcester City. The Banbury forums are utterly downbeat fearing a Kettering or Bradford Park Avenue situation.

They had to find £70,000 for a new stand to meet grading requirements to avoid compulsory relegation. I wonder if it is portable? The club operate on a rolling one-year lease renewed in June of each year, fully aware their stadium is on prime building land and is ear marked for re-development.

Their previous manager resigned last summer and virtually the entire squad opted to leave. Mark Jones, the next man in, only lasted half a season. The current gaffer Kevin Wilson who rocked up in January. He was born in Banbury, played for the Puritans and was sold by them to Derby County. He played over 600 times, nearly all in the EFL and has managed 7 clubs. Which sounds great until you realise that he last managed in 2016. He’s never been relegated as a manager. Yet.

His squad has a constant arrival of loanees or freebies. There’s been at least 9 new players this month. One of the arrivals is Pa Sulay Njie. Remember him? Rocked up at Hereford with a grossly inflated CV and only played a couple of times. He hasn’t played yet. Another new loanee is 19-year-old Ben Beresford of the Bluenoses. One wonders whether Birmingham City don’t like him very much. Having made him endure 3 months at grim Gloucester he’s now got an even tougher gig.

On the downside the Puritans regular left back walked out 2 weeks ago while at Scunthorpe, debutant Charlie Wise got 2 broken ribs and is out for the season. Right back Simeon Maye has moved to Rushall. The long serving first team coach resigned a fortnight ago as a direct result of the departures and had to be hastily replaced. The new arrival was last involved in non-league in 2016.

Off the pitch, the chairman is walking away at seasons end. No-one else is yet willing to take over 3 months after the announcement was made. That’s tricky as he did 3 jobs so the club are also forced to advertise for a volunteer club secretary and a fixture manager.

With such chaos, not surprising that Banbury have lost their last nine games. Their home record of W4-D4-L11 is second worst in the Division. In midweek against South Shields, the average age of the team was 21. Their second oldest player was 22. Four new loans started including goalkeeper James Dadge who was making his debut.

They’re also second worst at finding the net with only 33 all season – one of them scored by our own Tope Obedayi. I have read unconfirmed stories that Tope was one of their very few contracted players hence the loan. Banbury striker Ken Charles has to play all the time due to lack of alternatives. He’s scored 11 with the aid of some penalties including one at the Street. The Bulls went on to win 4-1 in the reverse fixture back in November. His reward is to now sit on the bench. Too old perhaps?

There’s no shortage of tickets for a game where we are likely to outnumber the remaining home support.

Tickets will be on sale via the following link until 09:30 on Friday morning.

Banbury Away Tickets (

Simon Wright

By Editor

Lifelong Hereford supporter who has endured the rise and fall of the club through progressive generations. Sports journalist, broadcaster and commentator who will never forget his Edgar Street roots.

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