When the fixture list was released last summer, the trip to Rochdale wouldn’t have been the highlight in the minds of many of the Cobblers squad.
But it was certainly one Dave Buchanan had his eyes on.
I still go and watch Rochdale now if they are playing on a Tuesday night and I am back home. I know the management and coaching staff really well, and am also very friendly with a few of their players, so it will be good to see a few facesCobblers defender Dave Buchanan
The Cobblers left-back was born in Rochdale, his family still live in the area and this weekend’s trip to Spotland is going to be a special one for him.
“It’s always nice to get back up there and play, as it’s the one opportunity where my friends and family can come and see me, with me being down here in Northampton,” said Buchanan, whose most recent return to Rochdale ended in a 3-0 defeat when he was a Preston North End player in November, 2014.
“My friends don’t get to many games, so it is always good to go to Rochdale, although obviously a lot of them are Rochdale fans so I will be getting some stick as usual!
“When they speak to me, they will always say ‘I hope you get the job done’, but come Saturday they will be sat in the stands and, hopefully they won’t, but if Rochdale manage to score then a few of them will be cheering.”
It’s a club close to Buchanan’s heart, and he added: “Being in football your loyalties lie with the club you are at.
“I have always supported Manchester United since I was a boy, but I have gone and watched Rochdale for as long as I can remember.
“I still go and watch them now if they are playing on a Tuesday night and I am back home.
“I know the management and coaching staff really well, and am also very friendly with a few of their players, so it will be good to see a few faces.
“Rochdale are a good model for lower league clubs, and they are probably over-achieving for the size of their budget and the size of the crowds they get.
“When you hear Keith Hill (Rochdale manager) speak, he always goes on about how Rochdale is a very stable club, they have no debt, they don’t owe anybody any money, and they never go over the top on budget and wages.
“They never put the club at risk of getting into financial trouble, which is very, very good and is a model for every lower league club to take a look at, and they are doing it on the pitch as well.”
But as keen as Buchanan is to go back home, he knows he and his Cobblers team-mates still have a job to do.
Town reached the 50-point mark in Sky Bet League One with their 0-0 draw with Oxford United last weekend, and in many observers’ eyes have already secured their safety .
But, like his manager, Justin Edinburgh, Buchanan isn’t thinking it’s job done and booking his summer holidays just yet.
“The thing is with me, I am one of those people that says we are never safe until we are safe,” said the 30-year-old, who is set make his 103rd consecutive start for the Cobblers this weekend. “
That’s why I was a bit frustrated when we didn’t beat Oxford on Saturday.
“I think it we had won that, then those extra two points would have really seen us over the line.
“The job is never done until it is, but I think we are playing well and we should pick up a few wins between now and the end of the season anyway.”
Rochdale were 3-2 winners at Sixfields earlier in the season, and nobody more than Buchanan will enjoy it if the team can exact a little bit of revenge for that.
It would certainly seal the bragging rights when he meets up with his friends after the game.