I HAVE been really looking forward to the return of club football but unfortunately, Friday's draw with Middlesbrough was not the result we hoped for.

My initial feelings are of frustration and disappointment. We had chances in the game to have scored a second to put that daylight between us and Middlesbrough.

You always felt they looked dangerous enough to pinch a goal. They came close by hitting the post in the first half and then we got punished for not taking our chances.

It’s frustrating but we are now going to have to go to Ipswich Town and win the game or take points off them. Hopefully, we can still achieve four points from the two games over Easter.

Away from Saints, it was great to be at a packed Wembley last Saturday to watch England take on Brazil. The Brazilian fans brought a whole load of noise and a carnival atmosphere.

I was also there to support my daughter Kenzie, who was working on the game.

I hadn’t been to Wembley for a long time so it’s always nice to go there to take in a game. The match gave me my football fix.

As I sat there watching the game I couldn’t help but feel as though I might be coming back here in a few month's time to watch Southampton.

Although, like most, I would prefer us to go up automatically. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to a playoff final.

The return of Kyle Walker-Peters and Ryan Fraser will be huge, especially given we are at the business end of the season.

The international break was a great opportunity to get some injured players back fit. Thankfully, everyone has returned from their national teams with a clean bill of health as well.

A few of the Saints players came up against each other on Tuesday evening while on international duty. Stuart Armstrong and Che Adams faced Shea Charles as Scotland took on Northern Ireland.

Jan Bednarek’s Poland beat David Brooks’ Wales on penalties to book their spot in next summer’s European Championship as well.

It can be a strange dynamic when you come up against a teammate or friend, especially if they are someone you have played with for a long period.

I can cast my mind back to coming up against Alan Shearer and Rod Wallace after they had departed from Saints.

Alan was in the youth team a year below me and it was strange seeing him return to The Dell in a Blackburn shirt.

Once the whistle goes everyone knows there is a job to be done. You go about your business as you would do in any other game.

Everyone realises that you have to do your thing for those 90 minutes, but you’ll still shake each other's hand after the game, no matter what has happened.

To have key players back fit for selection is a huge boost. Russell will now need to re-discover his strongest starting lineup.

This is a pretty intense start to the run-in, but we know all too well that this is how the Championship works.

The lineups from yesterday’s draw to Monday’s trip to Ipswich will probably be tweaked. Whatever lineup we have to ensure we take our chances.

There will be so many factors that determine how the two teams look over this Easter double-header. Injuries, performance, results, and tactics will all play on Russell Martin’s mind.

Having the opportunity to beat the likes of Ipswich has to be a massive incentive for us. I’d much rather have to play them than hope others take points off them.

I think if you asked Russell and the squad none of them would want it to be any other way.