WE had a change of routine again this week when we stayed up in Rochdale after Tuesday night’s game at Spotland.

We have had so many night matches this season where we have sat on the M6 not moving at two in the morning on the way home.

So we decided to again take that out of the equation and stay up in the north, train on Wednesday and then come home after that.

Sleep is a vital aid to recovery, so hopefully the players will be fresh and ready when we welcome Bradford City this afternoon.

I’m not trying to deliberately play things down – it is a big game, as are all of our remaining fixtures.

But what we cannot do is build it up and hype it to a level where the players are terrified of making a mistake.

Also read: U's v Bradford - pre-match stat pack

There has to be a freedom in the way they play, a creative spark somewhere, and if you overthink things and fill your head with negatives then it becomes very difficult to perform and play your natural game.

You need that balance between expressing yourself and doing it within a team framework.

That can be quite hard to find when you are in the relegation places and I am sure it is going to lead to some very interesting results in this league over the next few games.

I would estimate that there are 11 teams really in the relegation fight at the moment.

Some have been down there all season, others have been dragged into it in recent weeks.

With so many teams involved it means they are all going to be playing each other all the time – as with us against Bradford today – and that is going to lead to some big swings in fortune.

Win a couple of games and you can gain ground very quickly, but it will be very hard to pull away from danger completely.

It’s a time for cool heads – Paul Ince used to have an expression for it: ‘Fire and Ice’.

You need the fire in your belly and that ice cold thinking to keep calm whether things are going for or against you.

I know we have that among the staff and players and hopefully we show both qualities today and pick up all three points.

Also read: U's players fear relegation, says Dickie

Our next home game is against Wycombe Wanderers – it’s not a derby before you ask me – and the club have come up with a great initiative.

We are asking junior fans to design the programme cover, be the PA announcer and interview me and the players before the game – a junior takeover.

I think that’s a wonderful idea, as is the family away day with free coaches for under 16s to Coventry City next Saturday.

We have to build that next generation of Oxford United fans and ideas like this are really important.

If you are a young fan and want to get involved, then the details are all on the club website – oufc.co.uk – and maybe it will be you I speak to before the Wycombe match on March 30.