Colchester United's Steven Gillespie said home fans made him feel 'six feet five tall' when they sung his name at the Weston Homes Community Stadium last Saturday before he climbed off the bench to score the winner and I thought it was fantastic that he recognised the part they played in his success.

I know that some supporters sometimes feel the players take little notice of them but in general that's really not true. Professionals are desperate to please the fans, especially the loyal away support that make their voices heard when outnumbered on their travels and the ultimate boost a player receives is when he hears hundreds or thousands of his own support chanting his name. Aside from scoring a goal there is no better feeling than receiving adulation from the terraces.

When you're in the midst of the action it's never easy to tell what the fans are singing, unless you've just done something really good, but when warming up you're not fully concentrated on the game so you pick up everything that's going on inside the stadium. Steven will have heard them chanting his name and it will have lifted him immeasurably. He'd definitely have run on to the pitch with a spring in his step, so well done Colchester fans!

Another set of supporters who are loving life at the moment are the Seagulls supporters on the Sussex coast. Brighton & Hove Albion continue to go from strength to strength playing excellent football and winning match after match in the process.

Gus Poyet hasn't worked wonders overnight but it's really not far off it because just 12 months ago they were languishing near the foot of League 1. Their progress has been rapid. Managers need time to get their players believing in the same ethos and to mould together but Brighton has made that process look easy this term. I just like the way they go about their business, playing fast, passing football that blends nicely with their ability to mix it physically too. They look a fine side.

Brighton's continued progress may also owe something to the pressure they're feeling from the teams below them in the table. Under new management Bournemouth's form shows no sign of abating and behind them, Charlton Athletic, Huddersfield Town and Southampton are refusing to go away too. Any slip-ups will be punished, no matter how unlikely that seems for Albion at the moment.

While Brighton travel to Stoke City in the last 16 of the FA Cup this weekend, Leyton Orient will play host to Arsenal in what promises to be a special occasion in east London.

The O's have been in scintillating form recently, scoring goals and winning matches for fun, so they will be eagerly anticipating the arrival of their more illustrious London neighbours feeling they might just be able to pull off a shock result.

The buzz they are feeling will certainly help them settle ahead of this clash and knowing they have nothing to lose should act as a further inspiration. Believe you me, Arsenal will not fancy this cup tie one bit. They will be professional and take it seriously, I have no doubts about that, but they know it's a precarious position they find themselves in.

Everyone expects Arsenal to turn up and roll Leyton Orient over and with that expectation comes pressure and uncertainty. If they can use their confidence sensibly and play with no fear whatsoever, the O's could make it a highly uncomfortable 90 minutes for Arsene Wenger. 


Thanks again for the questions you sent in for me. Here's one from Frank Crawford…

I've always wondered what footballers are made to eat before and after games - and do they get a choice?

It's changed since my day Frank, when at Manchester United I recall tucking into a nice piece of steak before games, along with a healthy portion of baked potatoes and beans.

Nowadays the experts say that isn't ideal, so you'll see players being given a choice of chicken, fish, pasta and steamed potatoes and vegetables at the hotel for a pre-match meal. In general players aren't forced to eat what's offered them but with such a varied menu available to them managers rarely have any problems to encounter.

In the dressing room plates containing jelly babies and Jaffa cakes are a common sight, as are supplements that the individual players bring in themselves. Most lads these days have special milk shake drinks and sachets of energy jelly that they take on board before games and during the half time break.

Post-match sandwiches are provided alongside fruit as they help restore lost energy nice and quickly but in a healthy way. When I was at Huddersfield Town and Barnsley, the jam sandwiches used to go down pretty well I have to say!
Click here to email me for next week