Colchester United midfielder Harry Pell's weekly Gazette column

Staying focused

WE’VE had a meeting this week and we’re not talking about the promotion word at the moment.

We’re just taking it a step at a time with 100 per cent focus on each game and what we’re doing.

It was an important win for us against Northampton Town and great to go there and win 4-0.

But it did not matter how we got there or whether the score was 1-0 or 7-0 – the main thing was the win and the manner of the three points.

It was very important, especially considering how everyone else got on around us.

The only downside for me was my penalty!

I know their goalkeeper David Cornell – I was going to go down the middle but he said ‘don’t you dare dink me!’.

I changed my mind on where I wanted to put it and ever since then, I’ve had constant grief and taken some proper stick from the boys in our little group.

The whole training ground has battered me!

But when you give it out like I do, you do expect to get it back from time to time and I’m never one to turn down the chance to take one.

All three of our new signings made an impact at Northampton but we don’t consider them as new players any more.

I said earlier in the season that any player who comes into our group is very lucky, because our changing room is fantastic and it always has been.

They’ve all settled in really well and they’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.

They’ve all brought something that we didn’t have before and as the gaffer said, we needed some fresh faces to come through the door.

We’re all really pleased with the quality that the chairman and the manager have brought in.

To be honest, it’s given us a kick up the backside and that’s something that we needed.

It was also great that we kept hold of everyone in the transfer window.

If I’m honest, Sammie Szmodics is such a talented player that I think it’s only a matter of time before we lose him.

He knows that at some point in his career, he needs to challenge himself at the next level.

But on a selfish note and from a team point of view, I’m so happy we’ve kept him.

He’s been very good for us bringing bundles of energy and goals and is so important, both on and off the pitch.

He’s a massive character and he knows himself that he has a massive job to do between now and the end of the season.

As Sam said in the Gazette on Tuesday, his head is in the right place and he’s solely concentrating on Colchester United.

I’m glad he’s still here – I’d have been very lonely had he gone!

Robins reunion

WE have a massive game now against Cheltenham Town, a team I know all about.

It’s always nice to play against your old side – hopefully I’ll be selected and we can go out and get three points.

Cheltenham had a good result against Yeovil Town, beating them 1-0 on Tuesday night.

But I don’t think they’ll relish coming to our place after our performance and result at Northampton.

We need to go out and follow that result up and we know that there needs to be consistency levels – we won’t get carried away with things.

The place has been very bubbly after our last result but there’s a job to do on Saturday and it won’t be an easy game.

Target setting

APPARENTLY Jesse Lingard has said that he and Marcus Rashford have been setting each other targets to challenge themselves at Manchester United.

It’s not unusual for team-mates to do that and it goes on at most clubs.

A few weeks ago, I joked with Sammie Szmodics that I would finish as top scorer this season but there was a serious element to it, too.

I’d been told that Sammie tends to scores a lot of goals before Christmas and January and then tails off, so as an experienced player I wanted to put a bit of pressure on him to keep scoring.

Sammie’s expected to score goals and if I’m up ahead of him, that’s not good for him!

We need everyone pushing each other and I think Ryan Jackson and Courtney Senior set themselves a similar challenge earlier in the season, to see who scores more goals.

Football can be very competitive sometimes and it’s good to set yourself little targets.

Kopping it

PAUL Ince has told Liverpool’s players to ditch social media and concentrate on the title race.

But to me, it’s just noise and I don’t think it’s a big issue.

For me, Liverpool just need to concentrate on themselves and every side will have their blips along the way, whether their players are active on social media or not.

Everyone’s different; I personally like social media but our captain Luke Prosser hates it and he doesn’t indulge in it.

It doesn’t make you a better professional, one way or another.

For me personally, football has changed completely in that respect and it’s a great way to interact with people.

You need to be as professional as you can be and it’s easy to lose your head in the heat of the moment – after a bad result, I tend not to use it.

Baby talk

DID you see Newport County goalkeeper Joe Day sprint down the tunnel immediately after his side had pulled off a big FA Cup upset against Middlesbrough.

He had a good excuse – he had heard his wife had gone into labour!

The good news is that his wife Lizzie had given birth to twin girls.

It brought back memories of when my fiancée gave birth to my daughter Olivia.

I was lucky enough to be at the birth – but two days after my little one was born I had to fly out to Italy for a pre-season training camp with AFC Wimbledon!