Let's kick off Christmas schedule with a win

WE’VE had a run of games recently against teams who have been above us in the table - but we’ll be taking our home game against Port Vale on Saturday just as seriously.

They might be a bit lower in the table than we are but they’re in good form and these are the kind of games where you want to look back at the end of the season and say you got the job done.

It will be exactly the same level of preparation that goes into every game that we play.

We will look at how we can threaten them and also how they can hurt us.

It’s an important game for us because it starts our Christmas programme.

The games against Exeter and Swindon were tough and to come away from them with six points and six goals was great.

There’s a lot of belief in the squad and we really believe in what we’re doing, this season.

We firmly believe that we can back into League One.

You’re always looking to be effective at both ends of the pitch and the two ends of the pitch to work in tandem.

We’ve scored six goals in our last two games against sides who had started the games above us in the table.

We're starting to show some consistency

IT was a great win for us at Swindon and I would say it was one of our best results of the season so far.

There was a real buzz about us and we’ve come so far in such a short space of time, in terms of our away form.

We’ve been so good on the road and we’ve banished the away form we experienced, earlier in the season.

To go 1-0 down and then for them to draw back to 2-2, they could have put us under a bit of pressure.

But it says a lot about this squad at the moment that we were able to go on and win the game like we did.

I felt it was a bit unjust that we found ourselves 1-0 down and they were a bit fortunate with their goal.

We felt a bit hard done by when they scored but in saying that, we got a bit lucky in the build-up to our equaliser so it evened itself out.

I felt we dominated the second half after that and I don’t feel like they were putting us under any pressure – we kept the ball well and in the end, I thought we deserved our win.

I spoke in my column last week that it was important that we got the win on the Friday night and then see what happened with the rest of the teams challenging in and around the top seven.

The other teams upped their game and we’re in a promotion race with other good sides – it won’t be plain sailing all of the way.

All we can focus on is ourselves and we have to keep putting in the performances and getting the results.

We’ve been in good form and it’s the most consistent teams who will find themselves challenging, at the end of the season.

That’s something that we’ve maybe lacked as a club over recent years but it’s something we’ve had both this season and last.

A humbling experience

I POPPED along to the Children’s Ward at Colchester General Hospital on Tuesday afternoon with a few of the other lads and it’s always a good thing for us to do, as players.

It’s an hour out of our day to go and see people who are often going through a very tough time.

It was the least we could do and it was great to hand out some presents to the children and chat to the families who are also going through tough times, as well as the kids.

It’s nice to bring a bit of festive cheer and a smile to the children’s faces.

Running away with it

MO Farah was a deserved winner when the Sports Personality of the Year awards took place on Sunday night.

Mo has not won it before and it’s unlikely he will again, given the fact that he’s called time on his GB career.

It’s a huge accolade and I was pleased for him to get it.

I must admit though, I was a little surprised that Anthony Joshua didn’t make the top three.

I think his time will come though and he will be a heavyweight champion for a long, long time to come.

A gulf in class

SPEAKING as an England cricket fan, the Ashes series in Australia has been bitterly disappointing.

Ultimately, Australia have just been better than us in all departments.

I actually feel very sorry for Joe Root – he’s lost his talisman Ben Stokes, has been fighting fire with some of the off-the-field things that have gone on in Australia and is still expected to get some runs as England’s best batsman.

There have been some positives, like the form of the likes of Dawid Malan, Mark Stoneman and James Vince.

But I do think that there’s an element in truth in what the likes of Ben Willis and others have said about the senior players not performing well enough.

When you go into an Ashes series in Australia, you need those guys to step up but unfortunately for England, they haven’t really done it.

I’m not sure what will happen with Stuart Broad and Alastair Cook and it might be that they choose not to carry on for England.

There are plenty of things to talk about regarding England – I could write all day about it!

We will lose Test Matches and we will lose against Australia but the concern is in the manner of how we have lost.

There’s such a gulf in class between the two teams and the matches haven’t really been very close, even though England have had their moments.

There’s something not quite right with the way we travel in Australia and it’s a poor track record.

There’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of different avenues that England can take.

It would be great if we could stop the rot and win the final two Test Matches, to finish a disappointing series on a high.

But I think in all honesty, it’ll be a case of damage limitation.

I personally can’t see anything other than a 5-0 loss.

I'm relishing the busy schedule

WE’LL be in on Christmas Day for training as usual, in readiness for our important game at Crawley Town on Boxing Day.

I really enjoy Christmas time and I can still enjoy myself with friends and family over the festive period, while at the same time staying focused on the task in hand and what promises to be another very busy and vital programme of fixtures.

It’s part and parcel of the job for us to be playing over Christmas and New Year and one of the sacrifices we make as footballers to not indulge but it’s something I relish.

I really enjoy the atmosphere at games over the festive period, with family and friends coming out to watch the matches.

We’ll have four games in the space of nine days and there are 12 points at stake so by the New Year, we could hopefully find ourselves in a very strong position in the table.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year!