TODAY’S FA Cup tie at Brentford is a fantastic chance for us to get back on track and show what we are all about.

It’s the best cup competition in the world, there will be a sold-out away end – we ran out of tickets three weeks ago – and it’s less than an hour for us to travel and test ourselves against a Championship side.

I really like Brentford as a club and have had some great battles there over the years.

Griffin Park is a proper old-fashioned ground, hemmed in by terraced housing and right at the heart of the local community.

I’m sure it won’t have escaped our fans’ attention that there is a pub on each corner too! It may well be our last visit because their move to a modern new ground is well under way, but I think they are a fantastic model for us to look to emulate.

It took them a little while to get out of League One initially – I think it was four seasons before they got it right not just in terms of the team, but a proper identity for the club.

They found a system that works for them and made sure that all parts of the football club work closely together – players, commercial, community and communication.

That has allowed them to build on solid foundations and become a very well-respected, established club in the Championship.

That has to be our aim here at Oxford.

OK, we are only at the beginning of that journey, six months in to building something that has so many moving parts, but we can go there today and take note of a club that has found a way to play Championship football from a starting point very similar to ours.

Can we match them on the pitch? Definitely. My challenge to the players today is to show that they can compete and play at that level too.

We have a young, talented squad where the majority of them are under 25.

They should be ambitious and want to be playing at Championship level every week, hopefully with Oxford United.

Can they show that this afternoon and cause an upset? I know they can.

We have a couple of new faces hopefully available this weekend in Mark Sykes and Jordan Graham.

Oxford fans remember Jordan from his loan a few years ago, while Mark is a really exciting player who we had to fight a number of clubs for.

I know Port Vale said we snatched him from under their noses, but I can assure you there were clubs in the Championship as well and I thank Tiger for acting quickly to make the deal happen.

Both will have a big impact for us in the second half of the season.

There will hopefully be more new faces, plus hopefully Samir Carruthers will be back soon to add to our options.

We have some huge games coming up, including home matches against Portsmouth, Barnsley and Sunderland in the very near future.

We need to start winning games, and quickly so what better way to start that than progress in the FA Cup.