We are very much looking forward to getting back into match action this weekend with our trip to Norwich City.

The last week or so has still been good, those of us not on international duty have been back here at Chadwell Heath working hard as usual. It is always a bit different during these weeks and especially as we did have a few lads away.

We have worked hard in sessions to make sure our fitness levels were kept up - we all have targets to keep and meet and these are checked, so no one gets away with anything and nor would we want to. We work to make sure we are in top condition for when the next match comes around.

Some people may think we get two weeks off if you don't go away, but it is not like that, We had a couple of days off but around that we have been focusing on keeping things ticking over and getting focused for Norwich.

But the fact that many of the lads have been away playing for their countries speaks volumes in that we have a good squad full of quality players and it is good to report that all have returned fit and well. Winston [Reid] was the last to return as he had the longest to travel, but it was good to see everyone back.

We are all looking forward to the Norwich game. To say we were disappointed following our last away match at Swansea is an understatement. We know we let ourselves down with the mistakes we made and knew we could have hurt them if we had taken our chances.

But we move on from that now and look to try and carry on from the terrific away record we set up last season and get our first set of points on the road for this campaign. We also have confidence from the two league home games against Aston Villa and Fulham - and the cup game against Crewe which we won to take into this match. Hopefully we can do the business at Carrow Road on Saturday and that is our aim.

It will be a tough one - I have worked under Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood at Newcastle, so I know them very well. They will be looking to get their first win of the season and we have to go there like we haven't got any points yet and battle for them.

Elsewhere, the new lads have been settling in well. You could all see the impact Andy [Carroll] had when he came on against Fulham, but not just on the pitch, all around the place. It is great to have the big man here. It was no secret we were chasing him all summer and so to finally get him as well as Jarvo {Matt Jarvis] before that and Yossi [Benayoun] right on the deadline was great.

Hats off to our owners, the Joint-Chairmen, who gave the licence to the gaffer to go after quality players and all of them together, the Joint-Chairmen and the gaffer have produced. Hopefully we can now get them all fit - Andy and Jarvo have had injuries - but we have a very good squad. Competition for places makes for a team that wants to do the best week in week out.

We have had that anyway, but it is really enjoyable going into training every day. The sessions are really good and we are all loving it. The new boys have added to what was a tight-knit bunch before. There are a few boys speaking different languages but it is everyone together and no one escapes the banter!

We have a good mixture and blend in the team - it helps winning games but we know we have this strength to get us through the low times, which there will be. We have to keep working hard, keep a happy medium and I think with the lads we have and the staff around us, we can do that.

One more thing I do want to mention is that Coley [Carlton Cole] was interviewed earlier in the week about us having a little bit of banter about who is going to be top goal scorer again this season and how many goals we are scoring. We do and it is fun.

On a serious note though, I can't wait for Coley to get on the score-sheet. I am a midfielder and although a big part of my game is scoring goals, I won't be judged on that come the end of the season, but Carlton as a striker, will. Even though he does a lot more in the game than just scoring goals.

I want to chip in with goals and help make a difference for us in games like I have done against Aston Villa and Fulham, but will happily give the top scorer award at the end of the season again to Coley as it means he has been scoring goals… but I am looking to be just behind him on that front!

I want to finish off this week by saying a big thank-you in advance to all our fans travelling to Norwich to cheer us on. Having been here a year now, I understand that we get support no matter what, and this is terrific. Come Saturday, we will be doing all we can to get the result we all want.

Come on you Irons!

Kevin Nolan
Captain

Sunderland