BRISTOL Rovers away is the kind of game we were all looking forward to when we got back into the league so I can’t wait for 3pm this afternoon.
I’m sure when we won promotion at Wembley and when the fixtures came out last summer all the fans would have been looking for the Rovers games.
We saw with the amount of fans they brought to Rodney Parade in August that it generates a good atmosphere.
And I know we’re taking more than 1,200 to the Memorial Stadium today so it should be a great occasion and we tend to do well in front of bigger crowds.
It will sound like 10,000 County fans because they are so loud – that’s what it was like at Portsmouth.
It seems to bring the best out of us and it did last season as well.
Some players can’t handle the big game atmosphere but we’ve got an experienced group and we’ve shown we thrive on days like today.
We won at Exeter and Portsmouth in front of big away followings and at home we hammered Accrington on the opening day and also came out on top against Rovers thanks to Andy Sandell’s penalty.
Andy is one of a handful of ex-Rovers players in our squad along with our captain David Pipe as well as Byron Anthony and Chris Zebroski, who are on their way back from injury.
I’m sure it will mean that little bit extra for those boys. I’ve nearly fallen asleep countless times in the car on the way into training listening to Pipey’s stories about his Bristol days!
But it’s a big game for all of us, especially as we haven’t played for a couple of weeks and we need to keep pace with the teams above us in the race for promotion.
The training has been stepped up over the past few weeks. There’s a lot of intensity but then when there’s no game at the end of the week it is very frustrating.
So hopefully the rain holds off and we can get back out on the pitch for the first time in a fortnight.
It is a chance to do the double over Rovers – something this club hasn’t done since the 1982-83 season – and we haven’t beaten anyone home and away in the league so far this season.
We’ve had it done to us by Northampton and that hurt a lot so it would be nice to be on the other side of that feeling come 5pm tonight.
It’s going to be a busy week with Plymouth at home on Tuesday and Southend away on Friday and the next few months are looking pretty hectic after all our postponements.
But we’re used to that from last season and that didn’t turn out too badly so hopefully history can repeat itself.
In this league you only need to string a few wins together and you shoot up the table so I’m not too concerned that we’re outside the play-off places at the moment.
That can soon change and if we get a win today and another three points in another game against near neighbours in Plymouth on Tuesday we’ll be right in the pack again.
Apart from training I’ve been on my coaching course for a UEFA A Licence this week doing presentations and getting used to the off-the-field side of management.
It’s great to be learning new skills alongside legends of the game like Patrick Vieira and Sol Campbell and it is a privilege to share their knowledge and insights of playing at the very top.
Though the pair of them weren’t too happy when we were walking out of the Swansea v Spurs game outside the Liberty Stadium last Sunday and I shouted out to the Spurs fans that two of their favourite players were in attendance.
Turns out they can still move quite sharpish, even at their age!