THERE is always an added excitement around the place when you turn up for the first home game of the season.

Everything has had a tidy up, there is the smell of cut grass on the new pitch – they have prepared a fantastic playing surface for us over the summer – and you see everyone getting back into their familiar matchday routine.

It will be a good test for us today because Peterborough are, once again, going to be among the front runners in League One.

I like the way they do things – they have a vision and a way of doing things right from top to bottom and they always try to bring exciting young players into a team that plays attacking football. Sound familiar?

We will be ready for them today though and the contrast between this year and last is pretty striking.

I hate writing this because I will jinx it, but I went into the physio room on Friday morning and there was nobody there!

Shandon Baptiste is back in full training, Rob Hall played an hour in a game on Tuesday and Anthony Forde got 45 minutes under his belt in the same match.

It’s now just a case of getting them all match sharp, but touch wood we have a full bill of health and I get the added pleasure of a headache in selecting my team!

Most weeks, the players will have an idea of who is playing on Thursday.

We then go through things on a Friday where the players not starting will put on bibs and be a shadow team in the shape of our opponents.

We have an attention to detail. Their bibs will be the colour of the opposition shirts, while our starting eleven will wear their match shirts. It’s a very minor thing, but we do

try so hard to get things like that right.

The same shirts will be needed again tomorrow when we have the team photoshoot in the centre of Oxford.

That’s another nice little touch – getting the players to see the centre of the city they represent.

We want them to understand what Oxford is all about.

They represent you, the fans across not just the city but also the county, and all we want today is to send you away from the game smiling at a fantastic team performance and hopefully a first win of the season.

I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate one player in particular today.

John Mousinho is one of the best professionals I have ever worked with.

He is intelligent, a natural leader and he is a really good player as well as a really good man.

Today, Mous is due to make the 500th senior appearance of his career, which is a fantastic landmark and one he should be very proud of.

We had a little ceremony yesterday to present him with a shirt, signed by all the players and staff, that said ‘500 Not Out’ and he remains a central part of everything that happens at the club.

Well done to Mous, and I am sure you will give him an extra warm welcome before the game today.