Oxford City boss Mike Ford has warned his younger players to shape up soon, or face the axe from the Premier Division club.
City have not won a league game since January 19 – a run of five matches. They will be expecting to end that sequence at bottom side Rugby Town tomorrow, but Ford is taking nothing for granted. He said: "It's been a tough few weeks, but I'm making no excuses. We can't blame injuries, suspensions and not getting the rub of the green. It's down to my players to get themselves up for a battle, which many of them are not doing. We cannot go to Rugby with complacency just because they are struggling. We've done that before – produced good results against the higher sides and then struggled against the bottom ones. We've not been up for the fight, it's as simple as that. I should not have to motivate the players, they must realise that every tackle, header and pass is important. I don't need to motivate Lee Steele and Dave Savage - that’s why they had successful careers. But if I have to keep drumming it into my younger players, that tells me that they have settled as a Southern League footballer and have no ambition. That's no good to me – I want ambitious players here who want to push themselves to the next level - the ball is in their court."
City have signed young midfielder Harry Harding on loan from Championship side Reading, but James Clarke (thigh) is doubtful.