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9 January 2013

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Striker writes exclusively for

Sat around a table of, drink and merriment all starring you in the face as loved ones party and enjoy their time off for the Christmas period.

The life of a footballer doesn't really change in the holidays, the games come thick and fast and time for relaxation or any other hair letting down activities are out of bounds. 

I've been at clubs where Christmas Day is a normal day to train, and been on the other side of the coin where I've been lucky enough to get given the day off also. It's part of the modern day footballer to be as professional as possible and the teams who are strict and regimented usually challenge at the right end of the table.

With the games decreasing at an alarming rate, the table starts to take shape at this time of the year. Having a fit and healthy squad will ultimately help a teams chances to be consistent until the closing stages. It's not unusual to see unused players/subs running at the end of games to keep fitness at the ultimate level. A team challenging for the title really does need every squad member to be successful.

Seeing your team mates more than your actual family can be hard at times, in a changing room of 20-30 people there will always be plenty of banter. With Mario Balotelli being in the paper for yet another incident at the training ground, It may have surprised a few onlookers. I doubt many players or coaching staff in the game would have batted an eyelid. I've seen my fair share of dust ups and it's always an intense atmosphere in training when every player wants to win so much.

I am writing this after a few shocks in the FA Cup, including our own great win against Wolves. It shows the quality in the lower leagues now. Premier League clubs filter so many players through their academies that ultimately drop down into lower leagues making it the best standard it's ever been. It's no surprise to me to see bigger clubs from higher divisions signing players from non-league and watching them achieve instant success after big moves. 

This is seconded by the number of teams pushing for double promotions and climbing the leagues at a very quick rate. The difference between Leagues 1 and 2 and the conference is very fine.

It's the final push towards the end of the season, with people playing for Championships, mid-table security and the threat of relegation. Enjoy the ride.

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