Manager's programme notes in tonight's matchday magazine
After a very good start to the league season where we have picked up nine points from a possible 12, we turn our attention tonight to the Johnstone's Paint Trophy as we welcome our local rivals. It should be another fantastic occasion and follows two dramatic games between the clubs last season.
Those were such memorable events played in front of packed houses and full of incident: local derbies as they are supposed to be. It doesn't matter if it is a league game, a cup match or pre-season friendly, if it's Oxford against Swindon it means the world to both sets of fans and I fully expect tonight's game to be another full-blooded encounter.
We have had two games since I last wrote any programme notes. In the first we acquitted ourselves pretty well against a strong Leeds United side in the newly named Capital One Cup. Elland Road is never an easy place to go but we more than matched them in the first quarter of the game and were extremely unlucky to be 2-0 down at half-time due to two clinically taken goals. We gave it a real go in the second half but in the end can have no complaints about the result.
We then returned to Yorkshire and to league action on Saturday and unfortunately found ourselves a goal down inside 20 seconds at York. That early goal led to a very open game with both sides going for it. We put in 17 crosses in the first half alone and had the lion's share of the game, but whenever we gave ourselves the chance to get back on level terms we didn't quite take it, and then another individual error cost us. Even at 3-1 down and ten minutes to go we still felt that if we got one goal we would be right back in it and would get something out of the game.
It was frustrating but you move on and keep moving forward. It has been a very promising start to the season and now we have to make sure we keep doing the right things and keep our foot down in every game, whatever the competition and whoever the opposition.
People were asking me this week how we would approach selection tonight, but it is simple. We will select a team to get the job done, and a squad of players who we think will win the match. Our long-term injured list has been well documented and we picked up one or two more knocks last week, as you will do throughout the season. I would like to welcome Daniel Boateng to the club, a young defender with an excellent pedigree at Arsenal, who gives us one or two extra options and I am sure will be a valuable asset for us.
I often use my programme notes to thank you for your support and backing, and I thought you were fantastic at Leeds and York. You sang your hearts out at both games and to see so many of you making two long journeys is unbelievable. One thing I think I can guarantee is that you will be as loud and proud as ever at tonight's game. Hearing our home fans in full voice lifts everyone so enjoy tonight, raise the roof again and let's try and get our name in the hat for the next round.