The manager's notes from today's matchday magazine
Let me begin by wishing you all a very Happy New Year on behalf of myself, the staff and the players.
After an inconsistent first half of the season we will go into 2013 looking to kick on and start improving our league position. You could argue that we have done better in the cups this season, and we have another big week on that front ahead of us, but week in, week out it is the league that occupies most of our thoughts. The cups will take care of themselves.
At the start of the season we were tipped by many people to go well and be up there challenging, given the squad we had at our disposal. Unfortunately I think even our sternest critics would admit that injuries have played a major part so far. I have never known a season like it and our resources have been tested ever since pre-season if we are honest. We have had no luck at all but you just have to get on with it and keep going. There are still 20 games or so to go and there is plenty to play for.
Somebody pointed out to me just before Christmas that it was my fourth anniversary as manager here at Oxford United. That time has flown past and needless to say it has been the highlight of my managerial career and I have loved every minute. I look back at where we were back then and am very proud of the progress we have made in all departments. You look at the training ground, the quality of the squad, the league we are in and then you look at the youth development, the ladies teams, the academy, the commercial and media set ups and everything has made huge progress.
That is down to sheer hard work by everybody at the club and that will continue in 2013.
We begin 2013 with a third meeting with Cheltenham Town this season. We have had some great games against Mark Yates and his team in recent years and I am sure it will be another one to enjoy this afternoon. Mark has had the luxury of a settled squad so far and they continue to be one of the best footballing sides in the division so what better way to test ourselves.
It has not been easy for anyone recently with the bad weather and a number of games being called off. It hasn’t affected training too much but when matches get called off it does disrupt things and it can be difficult to build any momentum. We went into Christmas on a decent little run and would have liked to continue that against Fleetwood, and as I write these notes we are preparing to travel to Exeter hoping that the game goes ahead down there. We want to be playing matches, picking up points and entering the New Year in a positive frame of mind.
To end these notes I’d just like to wish you all the best for the year ahead. The support you have given us over the last four years has been immense and provided we all stick together and keep believing then there is plenty to look forward to in 2013.