TODAY sees the start of a new season and I cannot wait to get started when we play at Oldham.

People have been asking me if I feel nervous, but on the contrary, I just feel excited to be taking charge of Oxford United in a competitive game for the first time.

I’m satisfied with our preparations.

Although it’s been less than a month since I began working with the squad, the players have worked hard and are assimilating our ideas very well.

Since the first game at Oxford City we have played against five Championship teams and you are always going to learn plenty when you see your players against teams from a higher division.

I don’t read anything at all into the results, it is all about progression and with today’s game always at the front of our minds.

Right from the very first whistle we’re keen to show people the type of team we want to be and I’m 100 per cent certain that the players will be giving their all to make this happen.

You hope to come through preseason with no injuries but unfortunately Charlie Raglan will miss out with an ankle problem.

That’s a shame for Charlie. Everyone wants to be involved in the first game, but his time will come a little later.

I can only select eleven players to start the season, but over the course of such a long and tough campaign there will be opportunities for everyone, and the whole squad will play a part at some stage.

We may kick off today, but the transfer window still has a month to go and there might be a couple more new faces to ensure that we’re completely ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

We welcomed Ricardinho to the club earlier this week – a player I know plenty about and one who adds experience to the group.

I believe that Oxford supporters will quickly take to the new additions and get behind them just as they do with the rest of the squad.

We have had unbelievable support already out in Portugal and up at Leeds last weekend – and I’m sure they will be in full voice at Oldham this afternoon.

It will be tough, but it will also be a fantastic occasion.

Our fans’ support will be key for us this season.

We are going to try to be a team they can identify with and feel proud of, so that we all remain united throughout both the good and the tougher times.

I know that I’m never going to forget my first game as Oxford manager, which makes me even more determined that we get off to a good start this afternoon.

I’M DELIGHTED to have been asked to write this column in the Oxford Mail each week because it gives me another way to feel part of the city.

I have been overwhelmed by the welcome I have received in Oxford – not just around the club, but everywhere I go.

People have been very kind and it has been my pleasure to meet so many people who have wished both myself and the club well for the new season.

I am in the process of finding a new home for my family and hope that this will be in the city itself.

So many people told me what a beautiful place it is, but the welcome and the way I have been made to feel part of Oxford has truly been very humbling. Thank you.