It’s going to be a very rough afternoon at Kassam Stadium today when we take on Cambridge United against the backdrop of a tribute to Joey Beauchamp.
People ask me if the players and the staff will be caught up in the emotion of all this, but I think it’s quite the opposite that will happen.
I think the fans will be even more vocal than usual and we can try to use that passion to push us forward.
It won’t be easy, as we saw on the first Saturday of the season when we traveled to Cambridge and drew one each.
I think you want to avoid a team promoted in the first game if you can, especially on their home turf, because they still have that momentum from the previous campaign, and the fans continue to celebrate.
I’m glad the other U’s adapted so well to Ligue 1 after that; they are a very good club and they were impeccable in their approach to today’s events.
Also read: Mark Sykes on Oxford United’s defense against Dan Agyei and Joey Beauchamp
On a purely footballing basis, we are quite well placed at the moment.
The win at Charlton last Saturday was as good as you’ll see on the road.
We tried a few new things and once they all settled in, we dominated the game.
We scored some great goals and kept a clean sheet, which was probably the most enjoyable aspect for me.
We then did the same on Tuesday in Crewe with the defense looking in control for much of the 90 minutes and Ciaron Brown popping up in the other penalty area to get the winner.
Thanks to Ciaron, who stayed after practice and did some finishing work.
It’s a lesson for young fans because you can always work overtime and get your rewards.
Ciaron came in from the side, Sam Baldock made a big impact and we still have Marcus Browne to step into the team.
Marcus has trained well all week and has a chance today, as did James Henry who scored in a friendly against QPR on Tuesday.
I watched this then, drove to Crewe and it made me admire the fans outside even more because it’s not easy to find places on the motorways on a Tuesday night!
Also read: Karl Robinson wary of threat from ex-Oxford United striker
They were 600 at Gresty Road and there will be nearly 10,000 today.
If you’re coming, please say hi to Joey and all he stood for.
But also just behind the current team as we try to get a win for him.
In addition to today’s celebration of Joey’s life, we plan to find a permanent way to mark his contribution to the club.
Was he the best player Oxford had ever produced?
He has tough competition for that title with England internationals like Mark Wright and Martin Keown and I am convinced that like them he should have continued playing for his country.
I used an expression in the week that seemed to hit home: he played for HIS England, he played for Oxford United.