Brady says there were 'various reasons' behind decision to bring back McGowan against Burton
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Cobblers boss Jon Brady said there were ‘various reasons’ behind his decision to hand Aaron McGowan a first league start of the season against Burton Albion on Saturday.
Town’s vice-captain has had to watch on from the sidelines for the most part this season but he took over the armband from Sam Hoskins on Saturday and was instrumental in a much-needed 2-0 victory.
McGowan’s leadership and experience was vital as Northampton kept their first clean sheet since September to end a run of six games without a win and remain above the relegation zone going into the international break.
"There were various reasons why we brought Aaron back into the team,” said Brady. “He was chipping away at me, I'll give him credit there, and I just felt we needed to play forward quicker and have a bit more energy about us.
"No disrespect to anyone else but I also felt we needed a bit more leadership and some physicality and players who would step up and win the battle first and foremost and then we could play on top of that and we did that today.”
Jack Sowerby and Kieron Bowie also returned to the team on Saturday and Brady believes the freshness and energy provided by those two, plus Aaron McGowan, was a big reason for Town’s excellent performance.
"That energy and that tempo is our DNA but it's been tough because we've had the same group playing week in, week out,” he added. "We were able to freshen things up. Jack Sowerby comes in, Aaron comes in and shows huge leadership, he took over the armband from Sam so respect there, and Jordan Willis and Kieron Bowie also come in.
"We were more physical and we needed that. A lot of players have been out with injury or suspension but it makes a big difference when we have those options available and the opportunity to bring players on who have been so consistent for us.”
McGowan himself said: "It was by any means necessary today because we knew we needed at least a point but really we needed all three and we felt like we needed to give the fans something back.
"I think we've just dipped below our usual standards in the last few games but it was nice to see the lads play like they did. There was nothing spectacular about it, it was just a group of 18 lads working hard for each other and we got our rewards in the end.”