Welcome to the Lamex stadium for what promises to be an exciting FA Cup fourth round tie against Notts County.
There’s a real buzz and a real feel about this club and I think that comes from the success. The last couple of years will be in everyone’s minds because of the back to back promotions, but what I see is a successful team, a team that’s on the move, a group of players that have shown exactly what they can achieve. That was a real attraction and from the first time I met the chairman I knew that this was the job for me. I sincerely hope that I can offer all the support and help to a group of players that have got all of the qualities needed for a third promotion in three years.
What stands out immediately is the real passion and spirit in the group; you can see the competitive nature. There’s a real support about the group for each other, but just as importantly, I think we saw when the team went in front that there was a nice balance to the group. They played a little more football against MK Dons than people have seen in a while, I think that comes from confidence and a relaxed nature about each other so hopefully we can keep that going.
As I went through my first week at the club my impressions continued to be good. I had a very productive meeting with the senior players on Wednesday and took training for the first time on Thursday. I aired a few things that were important, but all the information I have had back is spot on. They are a good group of players, good characters. They are such an easy group to work with.
I am in a fortunate position of taking over a bunch of great lads who are on a good run, in a good league position and still in the FA Cup. The reality is that there is pressure, lots of this you put on yourself. If you take over a team that is struggling there is pressure to keep them from being relegated, if you take over a team that is going well there is pressure to keep it going and fulfilling what everyone might expect. There is always pressure around, but the important thing is that I am working with a really good group of guys and you know you are going to get everything out of them.
I’ve been with the staff and players for three days and knew immediately it will be an enjoyable and exciting job. We’re in a good spot and everyone wants to push on. There is not a person in the club who doesn’t want to make the play-offs or win promotion. We will be looking to push on and improve our place in the league; we want to be looking up the table and not at what is behind us.
But before that we have an FA Cup tie at the weekend, a bit of a distraction maybe, but a really nice one. I’m sure that the players will be determined to earn a place in the last 16. It will be a great opportunity, if it makes history for the club it’s great, but my focus is really on winning the game for the fans. They had a wonderful game to watch on Tuesday evening and I’d like to keep that run going.
Enjoy the game.