We're aiming for a fabulous February

It's a very important game for us against Newport County, on Saturday in many respects.

We obviously want to put an end to our winless run.

I was very pleased to see the end of what’s been a torrid January for us as a team and we’ll be looking to get February off with a bang.

We’re had a winless run of late which is disappointing but we’re not far away.

We’ve had poor periods in our performances like the first half against Grimsby but there’s also been plenty of good things and generally speaking, there have been plenty of positives in all of our games.

Newport have had a very eventful few days, what with their excellent FA Cup performance against Spurs and then their defeat at Lincoln City in the league, on Tuesday night.

They have a huge replay to think about now against Spurs at Wembley next Wednesday night and hopefully, that will be a bit of a distraction for them.

As footballers, you couldn’t blame them for having an eye on that match as for many of them, it will be one of the biggest games of their career.

I’m sure that their manager will be trying to make sure that they are focusing solely on playing us and it’s a game that is just as important for them as it is for them, given our positions in the league table.

In the context of the league, it’s a massive game for both teams.

We have to focus on ourselves and treat it like it’s our own Wembley replay.

Newport also stole most of the headlines last weekend and I took in some of Yeovil’s FA Cup game against Manchester United last Friday night.

I thought Yeovil did well before the first goal went in and that’s often the case in games like that – the first goal is always vital.

If you can get the early goal, you can defend it and that can be vital.

Vale draw felt like a loss

We were bitterly disappointed not to hold onto for the three points at Port Vale.

It felt a bit like a loss and it was a similar feeling to the one we had experienced when we also drew 2-2 up at Grimsby Town, earlier in the season.

We had done such a good job up until their equaliser to get the lead like we did and then to maintain it.

Port Vale is never an easy place to go, with the pitch and the conditions and we were on the verge of getting a win, so it was doubly disappointing to concede a goal like that and draw.

However, there were some good things to come out of the game, not least our two goalscorers.

Courtney Senior came in for his first league start for us and grabbed a goal.

I thought he was very good in the time that he was on the pitch for us and showed just why the manager decided to start him.

I was also really pleased for Drey Wright to get his goal.

The fact that he hadn’t scored for a while had been a bit of a topic of discussion and he’s done so well for us on the pitch this season, without finding the net.

It had been a very eventful few days for him with the birth of his new son and I think it had been a bit touch and go on whether or not he could play.

But he made the decision to come up to Port Vale with us and we were delighted he did.

I really hope that the goals start flowing for both of them now, between now and the rest of the season.

If that happens, it will give us a very good chance of getting us to where we want to be, come the end of the season.

Mass panic on deadline day

So another January transfer window has been and gone and there have certainly been some big deals that have gone through.

Alexis Sanchez is a big one, as are Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Arsenal.

There’s been a fair bit of movement at the top level but the last few days of the window are a big show.

It is portrayed as a huge event on Sky Sports and it does seem as though teams go into mass panic.

It’s funny how the big clubs seem to leave their business until the last minute, especially when you think about the recruitment teams that they have in place these days but I guess every deal has a knock-on effect.

VAR is a hot topic

The new Video Referee Assessment system – or VAR for short – has been a hot talking point again, over recent days.

It caused a lot of discussion when it was used in the Liverpool-West Brom FA Cup tie on Saturday night and I’ve looked into that in detail.

It’s never going to be a perfect system straight away – there’s always going to be some teething problems and it needs time to adapt to decisions made in the game.

The decisions made in that game were ultimately the right ones and there has to be a place for it – it just needs refining.

Obviously, it can’t take three minutes for a decision to be made and that’s far too long.

It’s frustrating for both players and fans alike, having to wait around.

I think there also has to be more fan engagement.

I do think the idea of having big screens at games is a good one so that people can see and hear what’s going on and that’s been successful already in sports like cricket and rugby.

I think that might be the way it moves forward.

Room space 

Apparently, Jose Mourinho has made sure that Alexis Sanchez’s locker is placed next to Marcus Rashford’s at Manchester United, to help them strike up a partnership both on and off the pitch.

I’ve never been at a club where the manager has done that but similar things have happened when you travel to away games and I’ve had managers in the past who have deliberately paired up players to room together, usually strikers or defenders playing in the same positions.

I don’t think anyone’s fussed who they room with at Colchester – everyone gets on really well.

You will naturally have preferences with who you share a room with but generally speaking, everyone gets on with each other.

That might be different though, at the top level!

Federer is in a league of his own

I don't think there’s any doubt that Roger Federer is one of the greatest-ever tennis players.

He is a phenomenal sportsman and his humility is there for all to see, both on and off the court.

It was his 20th Grand Slam title and you could tell how emotional he was afterwards and for him to keep himself in the kind of shape he has been in, to remain at the top level for as long as he has done.

He’s one of those sports people that you think you are privileged to see in your lifetime, a bit like Tiger Woods in his pomp.

They warrant that status for the amazing things they have done in their careers, over the years.

Fun and games

So Mexican side Club America will sanction their player Carlos Darwin Quintero after he allegedly kicked a ball at a reporter in the warm-up, during a live broadcast.

I can’t say that I’ve ever seen or done anything like that during my professional career but goalies are usually first out, so we get to see most things before games.

I’m usually fairly relaxed during warm ups – I like to take in the occasion and the atmosphere before a game starts and see what’s happening in the ground.

Of course, there’s a few videos that do the rounds on You Tube of people being hit by stray footballs – the one of Harry Redknapp at the Portsmouth training ground is a classic and his reaction is priceless!