It’s a good test for us today as we take on Accrington Stanley away from home.

It’s just our third league game of the season, so there is still a long way to go, but we could do with a win and if training this week is anything to go by, then I think spirits are high and we go there in a really positive frame of mind.

Unfortunately we won’t have our travelling army of fans behind us on that open terrace at the Crown Ground.

I’m not being disrespectful, but it’s a hard ground for away fans to generate any atmosphere because there is no roof to keep the noise in.

But even so, we are going to miss those fans and it has been a difficult week for supporters, because I think the prospect of coming back to watch matches just edged that little bit further away.

It should have been just seven days now until we ran a pilot game and had 1,000 fans back to watch us against Crewe.

Also read: Oxford United's Matty Taylor eyes lift-off at Accrington

We will respect the new rules that make that impossible for us now, but I honestly believe we could have done that safely for everyone inside the ground – the fans, the staff and the players.

I won’t get into the politics, but my sympathy is totally with the fans who must be desperate to get their usual Saturday routine back.

I hate the games without fans. It’s not the game I loved and lacks all of the colour, spectacle and passion that you usually get on a matchday.

My job is to get the players ready for any game, under any circumstances, and so for the foreseeable future we now have to adapt how we prepare for games.

We have to accept that the current situation will be here for longer and we have to find a way of driving ourselves on without needing that extra push you get from a roaring crowd.

But I don’t want anyone to think for one minute that we have lost perspective.

We’ve lost a couple of games of football.

There are countless people losing their jobs or even losing their lives because of this terrible pandemic.

We all face our own challenges right now but as a football club we want to play our part to keep spirits high.

The best way we can do that is by winning. Starting today.

Oxford Mail:

I mentioned last week that we like to break things up in training.

The players were back at the training ground at 8.15 on Sunday morning to watch the Sunderland game back.

They then trained very hard for the next three days before we went up to Bicester Hotel and Spa for a team bonding session where they went in the lake and over an assault course.

A lot of clubs would have felt sorry for themselves or let the result fester.

Our method is to face it

head-on, talk it through, learn lessons, work hard and build togetherness, because that is what will bring us success this season.

Like that assault course, there’s a long way to go with plenty of challenges and a lot of ups and downs still to come.

It’s all about how you get over each hurdle.