Jonny Davies: The players love our new coach – as it comes with 'Fifa 14'

The O Zone: Behind the scenes at Leyton Orient

Footballers do a lot of travelling and the glamour soon wears off, especially when much of it is spent in traffic on the M1 and M6, but there was a buzz about last weekend's trip to Oldham Athletic.

The players were all excited as we had a new coach provided by Anderson Travel, complete with all manner of mod cons. Even before we left the ground at 9am on Friday for our four-and-a-half-hour journey north, Jeff, the coach driver, was busy reminding the lads not to make a mess as they had a good root around inspecting the new facilities. There was a huddle around the Wi-Fi box as they scrambled to get the internet code and they also looked around the kitchen at the back of the bus which would later be used to heat up the chicken-and-pasta dishes supplied, as ever, by Mrs Lisbie, Kevin's wife.

The coach boasts a fold-out massage table, a coffee machine and Sky TV, but the most exciting thing for the players was a PlayStation 3. For the majority of the trip the lads, led by Lloyd James, got stuck into the new Fifa 14 game and at times even played as themselves against Oldham in preparation for the match the following day. The staff were quick to implement a "no Fifa on a match day" rule, however. The gaffer suspects several hours playing football on a video game is not conducive to a good performance in the real thing

Driving a coach with 18 players and 10 staff can be a thankless task and, despite the new facilities, Jeff got the usual abuse for his navigational skills. "New coach, same old driver," yelled Mathieu Baudry as we hit traffic on the M1.

The staff sit at the front and the new coach has some features for them too, including a monitor on the coaching staff's table that is linked to the laptop of Matt, the performance analyst. This enabled Kevin Nugent, our assistant manager, to watch Oldham in their previous game and make notes for the team meeting the next day.

We trained at one of the Manchester United academy grounds in the afternoon. Finding a training venue for an overnight trip is normally relatively straightforward as the coaching staff utilise their contacts to find somewhere willing to host us. Clubs are normally very accommodating as one day they might need to use ours.

The training session was a light one with a lengthy warm-up from the fitness coach, Lee, to get the tiredness of the journey out of the players' legs before some nine-a-side on a half-sized pitch to work on their sharpness. Much of the preparation for Oldham had been done on the Thursday when the session focused on shape and patterns of play, using mannequins to mark out the anticipated Oldham formation.

After training the players refuelled on toasted sandwiches on the coach as we made our way to the hotel. There is a fair amount of dead time in the hotel on these trips and the players take a nap for an hour or two before an evening meal then retreat to their rooms or gather in reception. The hotel bar is out of bounds. In the morning some of the lads get up early for breakfast while others lie in. About 11am they go on their usual team walk before a pre-match meal at 11.30am. Then they have another short rest followed by the final meeting at 1pm to go through the last plans before we depart for the ground.

We were below-par in the first half at Boundary Park, which fortunately was not living up to its reputation as England's coldest ground, but ended the second half the stronger to come away with a point from a 1-1 draw that extended our start to 10 league games unbeaten. Despite our success we don't seem to have lost too many players to international duty this week, so we're now preparing to host MK Dons on Saturday.

twitter.com/@JonnyDavies123

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat