WITH the league matches now out of the way we’re finally able to focus on the FA Cup game we have with Hull City this weekend and it’s certainly an occasion we’re all really looking forward to.

When the draw was made I was back home with my wife and daughter and it was strange how it all worked out.

Martin Allen had been one of the pundits for ITV’s highlights show and he said some very nice things about our performance against Millwall and the job I had done at the club.

Because of that I felt the need to ring him to say thank you and it was then he also told me he was doing the draw the following day.

I said to make sure he picked us out a home tie but it was us against Hull City it was all very surreal.

I was in the kitchen at the time and we were all jumping around like school-kids.

But, about 15 minutes later, the reality began to sink in then a team from the Premier League would be coming to town and I would be up against my old side.

It won’t be the first time I’ve been up against them since my departure as I went back to the KC with Preston North End during my time there.

We lost 1-0 on that occasion but received a great reception from the fans which meant a lot because I had a fantastic four years with them.

I had a lot of highlights during my time there, including winning promotion to the Premier League and getting the club up in to that level for the first time in 104 years.

Once there, we won at Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle and I would consider staying up that season as the main highlight of my spell in charge of the club.

It does therefore annoy me a little bit when people want to solely focus on how I once did a half-time team talk on the pitch at Manchester City and how I sung on the pitch at the end of the season.

I don’t mind being criticised and I accept it as part of football but when I feel it’s unfair I like to stick up for myself and that’s what I’m doing here as there were certainly far more memorable moments to look back on.

The only disappointing thing for me when it comes to Hull was the day I was sacked because there were still 10 games to go that season and I still maintain I would’ve kept them up that season.

Everything has changed since then and Hull is now a completely different club.

They have a different owner, a different manager and a whole new set of players as well.

I think Paul McShane is the only one still remaining from my time there and it will be interesting to see what kind of side Steve Bruce puts out against us.

He made nine changes at Middlesbrough in the previous round but whether or not he still has the luxury of being able to do that I don’t know.

Tom Huddlestone is suspended while his new strikers Shane Long and Nikita Jelavic are both cup tied which I’m quite happy about as those three would grace any team in the top flight.

But, in all honesty, I’m not really too concerned with what’s coming out of their dressing room because Southend United is now my sole responsibility.

The challenge here excited here and is still does.

I don’t know whether or not coming down to League Two level has changed people’s perceptions of me because that’s a question you would have to ask others.

I know I was perceived to be a big time Charlie but I’ve always worked incredibly hard in everything I’ve done.

I make sure I do that every time I step out on to the training ground and things are going well for us at the moment.

I actually thought the first 75 minutes of the game against Chesterfield on Saturday were our strongest of the season.

After that, we had to rely on Daniel Bentley to make a few saves and I thought we got a bit sloppy.

I’ve warned the players about not letting that happen again and we certainly won’t get away with doing the same against Premier League opposition this weekend.