We fly back this weekend after a very productive week of training in Spain.

I have to applaud the work ethic of the players and the staff because there have been a lot of very intense training sessions this week.

That was one of the benefits but the trip was about more than just physical conditioning.

We wanted to get everyone together, away from any distractions.

It may sound strange, but during a normal week this is hard to do – let me explain what I mean.

In the week coming we have a game at Gillingham in the Checkatrade Trophy, so Monday will be 100 percent focused on preparing for that match.

On Tuesday we play the game, then on Wednesday we will need to recover, physically and mentally before we turn our attention for the next two days to a big home game against Doncaster next Saturday.

Add in the day-to-day details of running a football club, and that does not leave a lot of time to work on anything else.

A lot of things have happened in the first half of the season – a lot of positives and a few negatives.

You learn from both.

This week we were able to look at those things in detail, work on what needed to be improved, and make sure that everyone knows what we expect.

The last time we were able to do this was in Portugal during pre-season.

There are a number of new faces in the squad since then, so we have been able to just reinforce the core values that we believe will bring the club success.

We played a friendly on Wednesday, winning 5-0, but that was just to keep things ticking over and looking at one or two options after what I thought was a good draw at Southend last Saturday.

They haven’t lost at home all season and we showed a lot of character to come from behind and pick up a point.

That fighting spirit and the cool heads we showed to read the situation and play our game so as to get a result at Roots Hall, was crucial.

We will need more of that in a busy and very difficult December that we head in to with the determination to perform as well as possible.

I want to wish Oxford City the best of luck today in their game at Notts County in the Emirates FA Cup.

There is a very strong bond between our two clubs.

It is a mutual appreciation rather than a rivalry, which is unusual between two clubs in the same city.

We have loaned a number of players to City and our young goalkeeper Jack Stevens has a fantastic opportunity to show what he can do for them today.

There is a two-division gap between the clubs so it is going to be a huge challenge, but I am sure that City will fight for everything, raise their game and do Oxford proud.

It would be fantastic to see them go through.