AFTER games in the FA Cup and Checkatrade Trophy, today is a good chance for us to get back to winning ways in the league when we welcome Northampton Town.

Their manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was a fantastic forward and has had success as a manager at this level before with Burton Albion.

He has started to turn things around at Northampton now.

They will be tough opposition, but I like this sort of game.

The two clubs have a lot of respect because they came up into this division in the same year and I think the fans look forward to this fixture as well.

Don’t worry, I know who the real local rivals are!

But in a division where you always seem to be on the motorways it is almost a derby today, so there should be a great atmosphere.

We are looking for a positive reaction after a couple of cup defeats – even if the second one actually saw us progress in the Checkatrade Trophy.

We faced similar challenges earlier in the season, and I always insist that, provided you learn from the mistakes, stick together and believe in what you are doing then you can get back on track very quickly.

We went on a six-game unbeaten run last time something similar happened, but now we have to really step things up.

We will do this by believing in the work that has got us into this good position, but also by ensuring we give our best every single day in order to match our ambitions.

We have trained well, we are fully committed to this afternoon’s game and we look forward to seeing you at Grenoble Road.

ON Thursday night I had the pleasure of coaching the club’s under 13 squad.

It was part of a new idea we had this week where the first-team coaches and Leon Blackmore-Such, who leads the youth team, all had a chance to meet the younger age groups and put on a training session alongside the usual coaches.

I thoroughly enjoyed my evening.

There are different skills involved in coaching a professional side and an under 13 squad, but the principles remain the same.

The lads worked really hard, showed fantastic technique and seeing them smiling as they trained was great.

It was a nice reminder for me of why I got involved in coaching as well.

One thing I noticed were the families around the pitch.

They deserve a special mention because they are there every week to take their kids to training and matches.

It’s a big commitment and hopefully the reward is to eventually see their boy playing professional football.

Ultimately the dedication shown by every young player may not be rewarded in the same way, but I believe that the Oxford way is the correct way.

Alongside coaching we try to teach about respect, hard work, character and determination.

I want to wish every single player, boys and girls, the best of luck over the coming years.

Not only do we produce good players, we produce good people too.