Banks: we are up for battle

Eastbourne Borough ‘keeper Rikki Banks is delighted to be back in the Sports side and he insists everyone at Priory Lane has the stomach for a fight against relegation.

The 22-year-old, who joined from Lewes in the summer, was a near ever-present until the end of January when a costly misjudgement against Grimsby saw him dropped to the bench in favour of Southampton loanee Tommy Forecast.

But when Forecast’s loan spell came to an end last month, Banks was restored to the starting line-up. After a comfortable outing in the Sussex Senior Cup victory over Rustington, he made his return in the Blue Square Bet Premier against Southport on Saturday.

And ahead of this weekend’s trip to York the ‘keeper says it hasn’t taken long to get back into the swing.

“It’s brilliant,” he said, “I’m really really enjoying it. I feel fresh. The team have done well and I feel like I’m back to my best. It is good to be back, to be playing again.

“Saturday was quite easy – I didn’t have much to do. It was quite easy for me really, to come back into the team with a 4-1 win. But there was a bit more pressure at Wrexham.”

In Banks’ absence Boro’ conceded 16 times in seven matches, but now the Sports have rediscovered the winning formula, he believes a great escape is on the cards.

“Fingers crossed,” he said. “We have got to look forward.

“Everyone is ready for the battle; we have always been ready and everyone is playing with confidence.

“We had a lot of confidence coming out of the Wrexham game, even from the defeat. Although we lost there was still a lot of confidence.”

After returning from North Wales in the early hours of Wednesday, Boro’ were back on the road again this morning (Friday).

The squad will stay overnight in York before meeting the play-off chasing Minstermen on Saturday. The Sports have an excellent record against City, having won four of the sides’ five meetings in the Blue Square Bet Premier.

They triumphed 1-0 at Bootham Crescent last season thanks to a fine strike from Liam Enver-Marum. While at Priory Lane in October Jamie Taylor and Simon Johnson were on target in a 2-1 victory.

Head coach Nick Greenwood believes Boro’ can shock the Yorkshire side, but he knows they will need to be at their sharpest in front of goal.

He said, “We picked up a few knocks on Tuesday but we are always confident. We are getting chances but we have got to get the ball in the net, that was the difference between the sides on Tuesday.”

In-form George Purcell, who is on loan from tomorrow’s opponents, is ineligible for the clash, while loanee Danny Kelly, who made an unexpected debut at Wrexham, could keep his place. Ben Austin and Gary Elphick are both doubtful, along with Matt Crabb (knee).