Playing with a bit more swagger and gusto since Justin Edinburgh’s arrival, watching the Cobblers of late has been like a throwback to the heady days of last season, at least that’s the view of left-back David Buchanan.
An ever-present in the team this term and a key cog in Chris Wilder’s title-winning side last time around, Buchanan has often been the first name on the Cobblers team sheet since signing for the club 21 months ago.
He knows what it takes to win, and after the struggles towards the end of the Rob Page era, he now believes this side are returning to something like the entertaining, front-foot Cobblers of last season, aided by the influence of Edinburgh.
Much like Wilder, Edinburgh likes his teams to play with energy, intensity and resilience, all three of which have been evident in recent performances.
And after three straight home wins, Northampton continued their progression at Southend United on Saturday when dogged defending coupled with two goals in an entertaining first-half held the play-off chasers to a hard-fought 2-2 draw.
“That’s like the Cobblers of last year,” said Buchanan. “We did concede goals but the way we played – we were high energy, pressing up the pitch and going to win games.
“I think that’s another mentality the gaffer’s brought in. He wants us to go and win games and I think winning becomes a habit and picking up points is vital.
“When you’re down there and losing, you can’t see where the next result is coming from, but back-to-back wins at home has given us a lot of confidence.
“We were very good against Swindon and the result flattered them to be honest, and again on Saturday, I think if you ask Southend they’d say we deserved a point.”
Northampton twice had to recover from a goal behind at Roots Hall after Jermaine McGlashan and Simon Cox put United ahead before Marc Richards and then John-Joe O’Toole made it 2-2 at half-time.
It’s unbelievable form and I’m delighted for John-Joe. He didn’t start the season as well as he did last year but since the new manager has come in, he does what he does.
The home side made most of the running in a more low-key second-half but despite threatening, they were unable to force a winner, kept at bay by a combination of resilient defending and several fine saves from Cobblers goalkeeper Adam Smith.
Buchanan added: “It’s a terrific point and we’re very happy with it. We knew what a good side Southend are and we prepared well.
“They score a lot of goals and they come out of the blocks quickly so we knew we had to do that as well.
“I thought their first goal came against the run of play because we started really bright and got in behind them and had a few half chances.
“But to go behind and get back in the game we did, the lads showed a lot of character and overall we’ll take a point and I thought we deserved it.”
Although Northampton’s return to form has been a team effort, there’s one man in particular who’s been responsible more than most for their recent resurgence.
Now with five goals in his last four games, it’s not hard to work out who that man is.
“It’s unbelievable form and I’m delighted for John-Joe,” said Buchanan. “He didn’t start the season as well as he did last year but since the new manager has come in, he does what he does.
“I think that’s five goals in four games and for a midfielder at any level that’s outstanding and long may it continue.”