I really like the FA Cup and we’ll be doing our best to uphold the traditions of the competition when we take on Grimsby Town at the Kassam Stadium this afternoon.

It’s strange how football works, but I’ve been in charge at Oxford for twice as long as their manager, David Artell. He only started this week but got off to a good start with a draw against MK Dons and I am sure both of us will be hoping for a win in the cup today to set up a potential big tie in the third round.

The last time I saw Oxford in a big FA Cup tie was at Arsenal away. We lost 2-0 but I still maintain that Steve Basham was onside when he ‘scored’ an early goal! I can still remember the excitement among the fans on the journey up to London behind that goal and we’d love to create those sorts of memories again this season. Let’s work hard and make sure that is still possible by the end of this afternoon.

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We picked up a point on Tuesday with a draw against the leaders, Bolton Wanderers. It was a good tactical game of football between two very good teams with both having spells when they were on top. Little tweaks and changes gave small advantages but then the other side would cancel that out. We had the better chances in the first half, Bolton came at us in the second, and I think a draw was probably the right result in the end.


It felt like a step in the right direction after Cheltenham last Saturday. We’d only had four sessions on the training pitches beforehand and the mood had been really good. It was important that we had a positive reaction and I saw that from the moment I walked into the training ground on Monday. It wasn’t the first time and won’t be the last time this season where we need to take the learnings from these games to get better, but the most important thing is to continue maintaining the high standards that allow us to perform to the levels required each game.

There was a positive reaction on Tuesday, a decent performance, and now we get a chance to make progress in the FA Cup. Let’s see if we can get that win for you.

We’ve been able to train all week despite the cold weather. The sun had thawed the pitches at the training ground by mid-morning on Thursday and Friday so we just pushed training back a little bit to take advantage of that.

Can I just say a thank you to the ground staff who do a wonderful job both there and on the stadium pitch – it’s not an easy time of year for them and they rarely get the credit they deserve.

I know the covers have been on at the Kassam Stadium and we should be able to beat the weather today. Wrap up warm, and come and be part of it.