The chance for the players not involved in international football to enjoy a breather has been invaluable but now we prepare once more to tackle the next phase of the Championship programme with five games in 15 days.
That starts with Saturday’s trip to Wigan Athletic for which the ticket office have told me more than 3,300 of our fans will again be on the road backing us. That’s just brilliant for myself, my staff and the players to hear as we build up to the game.
Every single game in the Championship is a fresh test for us and I want you all to know just how important this magnificent support is to the players. When we walked out at Preston recently to see the fans massed in the one stand behind the goal gave the boys a tremendous psychological lift before a ball had been kicked.
So far, I’ve got to be pleased with the results and I hope you are enjoying the style of play we are trying to produce. I think the players deserve credit for some memorable goals but we know we have to be better in all aspects of our game and let me assure you our determination to improve is the constant feature of our preparations.
But it’s not going to get any easier, that’s for sure. We have some major challenges ahead of us in this next cycle of fixtures and I urge you all to continue to play your part with your encouragement of the team.
None of us take this support for granted. We know getting around the country and buying tickets home and away strains the family budget, a point which was driven home just last month when we ended up with three home games in six days. To see you continuing to gather in such numbers, both at The Hawthorns and at the away venues, is greatly appreciated.
I have said from the outset that we will not achieve our goals without unity. That message does not change. In fact, the deeper we go into this season the greater the need to stick together. It’s impossible to imagine that we are going to get through this campaign - or any other - without setbacks and difficulties which will test that unity. Let’s not allow any setbacks to divide us.
On we go then, together. The boys will do everything they can to bring you the result we all want at Wigan and I look forward to our return to The Hawthorns on Wednesday week for a very attractive but tough game against Derby.
Many thanks again for all your support.