WE travel to Southend this afternoon looking to take the positives not just from the win at Plymouth last Saturday, but also from the game against Blackburn on Tuesday night.

I strongly believe that we have to continue approaching the games as we have been, trying to make the most of our brand of football, addressing the mistakes and using our experiences to improve every week.

Against Plymouth we started very well and were on top even before they had a man sent off.

We then played with intelligence and at a good tempo and few people would argue that the better side won on the day.

If I am honest, though, then the same was probably true on Tuesday night when Blackburn were very impressive.

Even so, I think for an hour we matched them and showed a lot of good qualities.

We did not crumble – but equally you cannot afford to give teams such a huge advantage in the first 20 minutes of any game.

I thought we showed character in different ways in both games and I also thought the connection with the fans was really evident.

Most supporters can see that we had to rebuild in the summer and that the players are working hard and adapting to how we want them to play.

In some games things have worked very well, in others we have had spells where they have not.

The harder we work, the more time we spend together on the training ground and on the pitch, the better things will become.

There is no magic wand – all you can do is keep working for each other.

Next week will see us fly out to Spain for a few days where we can get the squad together and train hard, away from distraction and with no game to build towards on the Saturday.

That is a rare thing during a season and I am sure will pay off throughout the rest of the campaign.

Hopefully we can go there on the back of a positive result this afternoon.

We had sad news this week with Christian Ribeiro having to retire through injury aged just 27.

In 20 years in football, this is the first time I have experienced something like this and I have to say that the way Christian has carried himself has been fantastic.

He is the ultimate professional and has such a fantastic attitude to the game.

That is why I told him that if he wants to be part of my staff then we would welcome him.

Christian will now take a little time out to come to terms with the news and see what he wants to do next.

It may be that he wants to get away from football for a while and expand his horizons.

But I am sure will be a success in whatever he chooses.

I believe he still has a lot to offer the game – but he is fully aware that whatever happens he is always welcome here and will remain part of the Oxford United family.