David Buchanan was not necessarily the obvious choice to take over set-piece duties when Keith Curle identified it as an area in need of improvement upon his arrival, but the decision has certainly paid dividends.
After having Matt Grimes on their books last year and Matty Taylor the season before, the Cobblers had lacked a consistent set-piece delivery this term before Buchanan, a surprise candidate at the time, assumed responsibility under the instruction of Curle.
I’m really happy since the gaffer has come in because he’s identified that I’m good at set-pieces and I’ve been happy with them so farCobblers defender David Buchanan
It has proved to be a stroke of genius with Town suddenly posing a real threat at dead ball situations, which has been in contrast to their failure to score from a single one under previous boss Dean Austin.
Only recently, Buchanan’s corner helped earn the Cobblers a late point at Exeter City, before another corner led to Andy Williams scoring against Grimsby on Saturday, and the same man then netted from Buchanan’s free-kick at Newport County in midweek.
“I used to take set-pieces earlier on in my career but, for one reason or another, ever since I’ve been here we’ve had players who have quality delivery,” revealed Buchanan.
“I’m really happy since the gaffer has come in because he’s identified that I’m good at set-pieces and I’ve been happy with them so far.
“They’ve not been direct assists, but a lot of the goals have come as a result of the first or second phase from one of our set-pieces and I’ll just keep working on them and hopefully I can create more goals for the team.”
Buchanan has also found himself in some unusually advanced positions when playing at wing-back this season, twice going close to scoring against Grimsby on Saturday.
Denied by visiting goalkeeper James McKeown and then just unable to reach Kevin van Veen’s low cross, the former Preston man revealed it was a predetermined plan to push so far forward.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “We work on it and when we play 3-5-2 the gaffer wants his wing-backs to put pressure on their full-backs.
“You have to do your defensive duties but he expects you to get up there and he wanted me to get forward and try to get into the box and then when I got it, to deliver as many crosses as I could.
“Unfortunately, from one, the goalkeeper made a fantastic save off Willo’s header and on another day that goes into the back of the net.”