We're raring to go again after fixture break

I MUST admit, it was a bit odd not having a match, last Saturday.

It was a little strange tuning into the radio at 3pm and then hearing the other scores coming in.

The lads enjoyed their weekend off but we’re all feeling revitalised now and looking forward to getting back out there again.

We’ve had a good couple of weeks of training and now we’re looking forward to taking on Exeter City, this weekend.

This is the second of three big tests in a row for us against teams currently above us in the table, after our game at Notts County and before our trip to play Swindon Town next Friday.

We’ll go into the Exeter game with a lot of confidence, even though our unbeaten league run came to an end at Notts County.

The performance in that game was very good and we’ll be looking to put in a similar display on Saturday but with the result in our favour, this time around.

Exeter are a good side – they have had stability and consistency, with their manager Paul Tisdale having been there for a long time.

They managed to beat us twice last season and to be honest, we were never really in the game down there.

We’re at home and we’ll be looking to take the game to them and keep the same kind of momentum that we’ve had over the last couple of months.

Confidence is high and the result we had at Notts County hasn’t affected that.

We’ve picked up some very good results over the last couple of months and we’ll be looking to carry that into the busy Christmas schedule.

De Gea is one of the best around

David De Gea is definitely one of the best goalkeepers in the world – and his fabulous performance for Manchester United at Arsenal last weekend showed that even more.

He made a number of big saves and also made some stops that weren’t exactly pretty but got the job done.

He had one of those games when as a goalkeeper, you’re out on the pitch and you feel like there’s nothing that’s going to get past you.

I’ve had a few of those games myself, like my performance at MK Dons when we drew 0-0 there a few years ago.

You have those days and they do come around every once in a while.

It goes without saying that they’re very pleasing to have as a keeper, mainly because you know that you’ve made a decent contribution on the game.

That’s the kind of position you can find yourself in sometimes, as a goalkeeper and it’s not like any other role on the football pitch in that respect.

Hart problems?

People have been talking about whether Joe Hart will be England’s number one goalkeeper at next year’s World Cup and I think it’s a very positive debate to be having.

There’s been big tournaments in the past where England haven’t necessarily had the competition for places in that area but at the moment, I think that we have three or four goalkeepers who could conceivably be number one by the time Russia comes around next summer.

Joe Hart has always done pretty well as an England goalkeeper but it’s vital that whoever plays is full of confidence going into the tournament from the Premier League season.

He will be desperate to play in this tournament and perhaps right a few wrongs from the European Championships when he came in for criticism.

Experience counts for a lot but Gareth Southgate might be feeling that he can find that in other areas of the team from the likes of Gary Cahill and Jordan Henderson.

At the moment, he’s in a poor team that’s been conceding goals which isn’t ideal for him, with the World Cup not too far away now and club form is important for me.

A positive draw

I think the World Cup draw is a very positive one for England.

I won’t say it’s an easy group but I definitely think it’s one of the less challenging groups that we could have got.

We could have got one of the big hitters and although we have Belgium in our group which will be a very hard match, I think we can beat Tunisia and Panama.

In the World Cup, you have to play against the best but I think it’s a positive draw.

Ashes sent me back to sleep

I SET my alarm for 4am yesterday morning, hoping to watch England secure an unlikely victory over Australia in Adelaide, in the second Ashes Test Match.

I said to myself that if Joe Root was still at the crease at that stage, I would get up and watch it and if they weren’t, I would stay in bed.

Unfortunately, it was the latter – I got some sleep and watched the highlights later.

It was bitterly disappointing as an England cricket fan but it was always going to be an incredibly difficult task to win the game, from that point.

It leaves us 2-0 down and needing to win in Perth to have any chance of retaining the Ashes.

But despite the current scoreline, I don’t actually think there’s a huge disparity between the two teams.

Australia have a very pacey attack but on our day, ours is one of the best in the world when we’re firing.

I think we would have expected our bowlers to have done a bit more but our batting has also not been good enough and we haven’t scored enough runs up top.

Alastair Cook looks a bit out of nick but funnily enough, I do see more hope now than I did after two days of the last Test Match.

If we can learn the lessons of that match then we might be able to do more in Perth but historically, we haven’t done well there and it will be a tall order.

Still, I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to fight back!

A touch of class

IT was a great gesture by Real Madrid to send a letter of support to Sunderland’s Duncan Watmore as he recovers from his long-term injury.

I know how he feels being out for so long and thankfully, I had a lot of support too when I was out with my knee injury.

Along with my Colchester United team-mates and their staff and supporters and my family, the people I’d played with and the other clubs I’d played for were also particularly supportive.

Nothing will stop the fact that Duncan will be feeling hard done by at being out for so long with such a serious injury but it does help to have people lending their support and encouragement, because battling back from a long-term injury can be quite a lonely experience.

It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas

I WAS out Christmas shopping with my wife yesterday and I’m starting to feel quite festive now.

We’ve got our decorations up, the Christmas songs are on the radio and I’m sure it will come around quite quickly.

We’ll have a little get together as a squad to celebrate – we’ve done some positive things this year and we want to look forward to a fruitful second half of the season.