IT’S an exciting day for us today at the Kassam Stadium as we welcome the best team in the division so far. 

People have been asking me all week if I am surprised to see Plymouth at the top of the league and I’m honestly not because they have good players who are very well coached by a very astute manager. 

I worked with Ryan Lowe when he was a player and I was his manager, and I have nothing but respect for him and the backroom team down there at Home Park. 

I travelled down there last weekend to take advantage of a rare Saturday off and watch them play Burton, knowing that we play both sides over the next seven days. 

I think the idea of managers going all over the country to watch games is slightly old-fashioned nowadays because we have so much technology and can view the opposition online and analyse it in minute detail. 

But there is nothing quite like seeing a team in person and you sometimes see something different when you are at games. 

I doubt that the videos would have picked up the atmosphere though. 

It was a terrific place to watch football and Plymouth have that special something where they are the centre of their local community, have a large catchment area and several generations of fans who will go along and support them. 

Is the Green Army any different to the Yellow one on that respect? 

I was so proud to be asked along to the Mickey Lewis memorial game on Sunday and as you might expect, there are serious bonds between the former players who came back to play their respects to Mickey.

But I was struck by the way that bond extended into the stands.

There were families there where the mum and dad watched Mickey play, then their kids saw the team he coached win at Wembley. 

And now there is a new generation coming along and supporting a team trying to emulate what Mickey and the Class of 96 did: win promotion to the second tier. 

It was my pleasure to renew acquaintances with a lot of familiar faces and to get to know other players who have served the club so well. 

Speaking to James Constable and his wife, they said that Oxford is a very special place because there is a unique friendliness and welcome that makes you feel part of things from the very first day. 

That doesn’t happen at every club and is something we have to maintain while we strive to keep the whole club moving upwards.

Sunday was a day of laughter despite the sadness attached to the day.

There were two outstanding moments that made me laugh out loud.

The first came when I looked at Michael Duberry after about 15 minutes and signalled to ask if he was okay. 

He signalled back ‘give me five minutes more’ but I’m not sure he would have managed two!

Fair play he wanted to enjoy that feeling of being out on the pitch for as long as he did but I reckon he will have thanked me the next day. 

The second came when I gave a team talk and reminded the players that they were wearing the yellow shirt and were not to get beaten.

I was serious and you could see the competitive nature take over as the players went out on the pitch.

But when Zach Lewis, Mickey’s son, scored even I had to laugh at one of the players who swore loudly and got in to his teammates: “Nice moment. No way he scores again though.”