ALTHOUGH I am always focused on what is happening on the pitch, sometimes in a break in play I get to look around and soak up a little bit of the atmosphere as well.

Today is going to be a great occasion when we take on Portsmouth.

They will fill their allocation and I know the Oxford fans are going to be there and singing their hearts out.

So I can’t wait to sample a big game at Oxford first hand.

People tell me the ground is great when it’s full for the big matches, so I hope as many of you as possible come along to share that with us.

One week into the season and we have tasted the ups and downs.

I thought we played well at Oldham last Saturday and definitely deserved the win.

But if I’m honest we weren’t brilliant, just as we weren’t terrible against Cheltenham on Tuesday night.

We will learn and improve from both games.

It is always going to take a little time for our new squad to get used to playing together.

The team spirit is excellent, but patience is the key while players settle into things and they get used to playing the way we intend to play.

I have to thank the players for being so open-minded and in adapting to a slightly new system.

They work very hard every day, not just in matches, and it is great to see things starting to take shape.

We have added a couple of new players in Ivo Pekalski and Gino van Kessel this week.

Both of them are full internationals and have played a lot of games at a higher level.

But we always do our homework and they are also both bright guys who have a terrific hunger for the game.

We also have a few players approaching full fitness and we are going to see proper competition all across the pitch this season.

Whoever plays knows that we are going to have to work exceptionally hard against a side that came up from League Two this summer.

Pompey are a fantastic football club and I can’t wait to see us take them on this afternoon.

WE held a very enjoyable fans’ forum down at Oxford City in midweek.

Darryl Eales and Derek Fazackerley sat either side of me and we spent about 90 minutes answering questions from the fans.

It was interesting for me to hear what concerns the fans have, although I maybe wasn’t expecting to be asked if I have a goldfish!

I already noticed a closeness between the fans and the club, and it was a pleasure to be involved for the first time at an event like this.

I believe we agreed to hold another fans’ forum at Christmas and I look forward to seeing you there.