A trip to the races helped take my mind off the game

SATURDAY was a hugely frustrating day for me.

While the boys were losing at Newport County, I was suspended, unable to have any impact on proceedings at Rodney Parade.

Having been heavily involved all season, it felt horrible.

I was powerless and there’s nothing worse, as a footballer.

That feeling was made worse by the fact we lost.

I was avidly following the game and kept checking the score every two or three minutes after 3pm.

It’s impossible to switch off!

I’ll let others talk about the match and result – it’s hard when you’re not there – but I can certainly say the boys were in good spirits at training on Monday morning.

We tend not to dwell on negatives and thankfully the games are coming thick and fast, so we’re already looking forward to Saturday’s home match against Exeter.

To say I’m champing at the bit would be an understatement.

In a bid to rest and recharge my batteries, I took the opportunity to visit some old friends at Cheltenham.

It was a lovely weekend and I spent some time at the races there.

For those that have never been, I’d thoroughly recommend it.

It’s a beautiful place – the scenery is stunning – and every time I set foot there it’s a ‘wow’ moment.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most successful day for my wallet and the best way to sum up would be ‘bang average’.

But the weekend away served its purpose.

I feel rejuvenated and it was nice being back in Cheltenham.

It’s a lovely place, with lovely people. I miss that neck of the woods.

But while I certainly enjoyed myself, I definitely would have preferred being part of the squad that travelled down to Wales.

Our club should be so proud to host Young Lions


Ready to roar - England's Young Lions lit up the JobServe Community Stadium on Monday night Picture: Steve Brading

I’M sure many of our fans will have been at the stadium on Monday night for England's Under-20 match against Germany.

What a brilliant honour to host the game and everyone at the club should be very proud to have been chosen by the FA.

The ticket prices were very reasonable and I’m sure everyone will have enjoyed themselves, especially as England ran out 2-0 winners.

It’s a credit to everyone at the club and not least the ground staff, who produced a surface fit for the cream of our young talent.

Talking of the Three Lions, I didn’t get to watch England’s Nations League match against Croatia on Sunday afternoon.

However, I can’t speak highly enough of Gareth Southgate.

It was another positive performance and, as he said, it’s brilliant that the team and supporters have been reconnected this year. That’s been one of the biggest successes of 2018.

It was another positive performance, the doubt has been replaced with confidence and the nation is fully behind the team, which hasn’t been the case for a long time.

Gareth’s been first class and I’m happy to admit he’s proved me wrong. When he first got the job, I wasn’t sure he was the right man but he’s doing brilliantly and long may it continue.

Sammie would be a perfect fit on TOWIE


Reality TV star in the making - my U's team-mate Sammie Szmodics

HAVE you seen my man Harry Redknapp on I’m a Celebrity yet? I said in last week’s column that I was backing him to win and I haven’t seen anything yet to make me change my mind.

I think he’s coming across really well and I’m sure the public – non-football people who maybe aren’t as familiar with him – will fall in love with the great man.

I enjoy I’m a Celeb – it’s a great programme to settle down and watch with a cup of tea - and always associate it with the run-up to Christmas.

Aside from that, though, I’m not a great watcher of reality television and was put off by The Only Way Is Essex.

I got bored of people talking about it when I was at Cheltenham.

Everyone thought all people from Essex were like the characters on TOWIE!

We all get tarred with the same brush and it gets on my nerves, although I’m guessing Sammie Szmodics would give his left arm to go on there!

He’d fancy a bit of that and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’d gone to the auditions.

Let's get back in those automatic promotion places

It’s another massive, massive game on Saturday.

Exeter City are heading up to our place and while it certainly won’t be easy, it’s most definitely an opportunity to get back on track.

We dropped out of the top three at the weekend but we’re determined to get back in those automatic promotion places as soon as possible – hopefully on Saturday.