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Oxford City Goalkeeping Crisis

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OXFORD City face a potential goalkeeping crisis ahead of tomorrow's Vanarama Conference North trip to local rivals Brackley Town,

Regular keeper Salva de la Cruz has been sent off twice in the last three matches and is due to start his suspension this weekend, while back-up keeper Mark Scott has been out with a back injury.

City have appealed the red card shown to Salva during their 3-0 defeat to Barrow last month.

They will not know until today whether that has been successful and while hopeful that at least one of them will be available, they may be forced to look elsewhere if Salva's ban is upheld and Scott is unable to recover in time.

Sky Bet League 2 neighbours Oxford United have made 21-year-old goalkeeper Max Crocombe available for loan after signing experienced stopper Jamie Ashdown this week, but general manager Justin Merritt insisted it wasn't an option for City.

He said: "Oxford United have spoken to us about it, but it was a very short conversation.

"It's nothing to do with his ability, but at the current point in time we have Mark Scott and Salva de la Cruz and we're hopeful that one of them will play this weekend.

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"With two goalkeepers on contract we're not in a position to take on a third without letting one of them go.

"In the event that neither can play, we have got a back-up plan in place already."

Merritt did admit, however, that City's preparations have been hampered by the uncertainty.

"Hopefully Mark Scott will train tonight," Merritt said yesterday.

"This should give him the opportunity he's been waiting for and it's up to him to make it difficult for us to take him out of the side again."

City were left frustrated after their match at home to North Ferriby United was postponed due to a frozen pitch.

However with top scorer Adi Yussuf having struggled with a hamstring problem and captain Darren Pond taking a knock to his knee during last weekend's 1-0 win over Tamworth, it has proved a blessing in disguise.

"It's given them a little bit more time for those injuries to settle and they've really benefited from the extra few days of rest" said Merritt.

New signings Helge Orome and Paulo Mendes will not be involved at Brackley, but are likely to feature in a trial match with a view to inclusion in Tuesday's Oxfordshire Senior Cup quarter-final at Banbury United.

source Matthew Bruce

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