Welcome to tonight’s home game against Blackburn Rovers.
Rovers are a club with a unique history, including famously winning the Premier League and, of course, our own Derek Fazackerley is a true Blackburn legend.
To be playing Rovers in a competitive league game highlights the ephemeral nature of football.
Tonight’s game will undoubtedly be a huge test for us. Last Saturday, they won convincingly away at Bury and are sitting nicely in the play-off positions. I am sure they will have ambitions to close in on automatic promotion as the season progresses.
Last Saturday, we bounced back from our recent disappointing run of results with a convincing win at Plymouth. Once again, our away support was fantastic and was rewarded with a strong performance which could have resulted in a bigger winning margin.
The season to date has confirmed how competitive the division is. On our day, we are a match for anyone and everyone knows how dangerous we are if given room to play. However, endeavour and intensity are the bedrock of every performance and, at Plymouth, we got back to our high standards.
We sit well placed in the league and with a points haul above the equivalent stage last season. There remains much to be optimistic about and we all know it is a long season. Keep the faith and I am sure we will be there or thereabouts come April!
Last week we learned that both Curtis Nelson and Robbie Hall have sustained long-term injuries. We wish them both speedy recoveries and, hopefully, will see them in action before the end of the season.
Our run of injuries has been remarkably unfortunate and has tested squad depth to the full. Fortunately, we have Charlie Raglan and Agon Mehmeti close to full fitness and available for selection.
I have been impressed by Pep’s response to the injuries and his insistence on a ‘no excuse’ culture. Notwithstanding the injury list, we still have a strong squad and opportunities have been created for other players to become central characters as we push forward this season.
After the Southend game this coming Saturday, we have a rare 10-day gap before our next game. We have quickly planned a five-day training camp in Catalonia, which will hopefully mean we will attack the busy Christmas period in even better shape.
I will end these notes by congratulating the youth team on their continued progress in the FA Youth Cup with a great win against Bristol Rovers. Well done to all concerned!
Enjoy tonight’s game and COYY!
You can read the full programme online at www.matchdayfix.com/oufc