I’m still upset about Saturday’s game, but it’s something that we just have to move on from. Red cards will always change games. Denis Odoi will be disappointed with that as he was given a warning a few minutes earlier, so he perhaps needed to show a few more street-smarts. To be fair, it was such a fast-paced game that it is difficult for the players but you have to get yourself in a position where you’re not making those silly tackles. The Manager was probably looking to take him off after the talking to, but the next foul came so quickly that there wasn’t really time to make the change, which in hindsight is frustrating.
Griffin Park is so tight so the atmosphere can go from 0-100 in an instant, and that red card gave their fans a real boost. It’s always disappointing to lose to a local rival, but especially so in this instance as it was a really good opportunity to build on what had been a good run of results.
The FA Cup draw was made on Monday night, and Southampton at home is a decent tie. Chelsea still hadn’t come out of the hat when we were drawn, so I was desperate to face them, but Southampton are still a strong team. It’s going to be a tough game, it always is against them. It’s great for the fans that we’ve got a home draw so they don’t have to traipse all over the country, and it will be good for a Premier League team to come to the Cottage. I’m expecting a good atmosphere.
Our next two fixtures are against teams in the relegation zone so it’s most certainly an opportunity to get back on track. Birmingham had a lot of investment in the summer but got rid of their manager after they started slowly, and they’re still struggling to turn things around. It’s never easy taking on teams scrapping for their lives as they know every point is vital, but if we score the first goal and get on top then their confidence could drop very quickly.
Saturday is the Club’s official charity match, and it’s great that we do that as it’s always important to give back. The theme is ‘bring a pound to the ground’ so if every single fan does that then we’ll raise a fantastic amount. I do appreciate that football can be an expensive day, especially when you bring the family, but if everyone donates a pound it would be brilliant. As a Club, we’re very proud of the Foundation as they’ve raised a lot of money and helped a lot of people. So I’d ask, if you can, for you to please donate and then hopefully we can raise as much money as possible.
Sunderland are next up, and being in the North-East at this time of year reminds me of Middlesbrough back in the day. The weather was so bad that our plane wasn’t allowed to take off so we had to get on the coach which took eight hours to get home. It was an absolute nightmare and it just popped into my head when thinking about Sunderland away! We know Cookie and Kit are going to get them well organised. They had a disappointing result at the weekend and are not doing too well at home at the minute, so let’s not be the ones to go there and springboard their revival. Chris Coleman was a great player and a great manager for Fulham, so we respect that but we need to go there and get something.