WE’RE under no illusions as to how tough a match we face against Leicester City, but having set a standard at Oldham Athletic last week, we have to try to better it tomorrow.
We’re up against the League I leaders for the second week in succession after Leicester replaced Oldham at the top by winning at Colchester on Tuesday.
But last Saturday’s game showed we can compete with the best in the division and we will go into this latest test with confidence.
I was happy with the number of chances we created at Boundary Park, although we could obviously have done with converting more of them.
After making a mistake at a set-piece by not keeping the wall together, we also need to tighten up defensively.
That’s particularly true against Leicester, who have scored more goals away (eight) than at home (six).
They haven’t given many away either – three in total and only one in their four away games – so we’ll have to work hard to break them down.
We’ve had plenty of reports of their recent matches, and Ronnie Jepson went down to Colchester to take a first-hand look at them.
I’ll be looking to use a little insider knowledge as well, because I have links with three of their players.
Left-back Chris Powell was a youngster at Crystal Palace when I coached there and went on to play for England.
And more recently midfielder Matt Oakley and striker Steve Howard were at Derby County when I was assistant manager last season.
Nigel Pearson, who I know quite well, inherited a squad with some quality players in it when he took over as manager in the close-season.
But they still have to be made into a functioning team, and Nigel, who has gained experience from his spells as a coach at Newcastle and manager at Southampton, has done a good job so far.
We’ll be trying to slow their progress tomorrow, however, and if we play as well as we can, it’s certainly a match we can win.
Once again you, the supporters, can play a big part.
Leicester are likely to bring a good following, so it would be great if you could really get behind the lads for the full 90 minutes and drown out the noise from the away section.
The vast majority of you have been brilliant this season.
Having paid your money, you’re entitled to your opinion, but positive backing really does make a big difference to the players.
THOSE of you who came to watch the reserves play Rotherham United at Emley on Wednesday will have enjoyed a good open game and a real goal feast!
We came out 6-3 up to make it four wins out of four games, and that’s a pleasing statistic for any side to be able to boast.
Reserve football isn’t quite what it was when I was playing, and games took place on Saturday afternoons, often the reverse of the first-team fixture, but it’s still important.
It enables those who aren’t in the first team to get or maintain match fitness and sharpness.
My only concern is that 16 matches aren’t enough, although I do have the option of fixing up behind-closed-doors games.
Wednesday’s was the first of four home games to be played up at Emley, a decision taken before I became manager.
Ideally, I’d like all the home games to take place at the Galpharm, because I feel it’s important to get to know the place as well as possible.
But I understand the issue with wear and tear on the pitch, and I have to say the surface up at Emley is first-class.
The only downside is that it always seems to be windy up there, although I’m told that after 20 years, you get used to it!