From managers to chairmen to players, a lot has changed at Sixfields in the past two years but one thing has always remained constant: the presence of David Buchanan’s name on the Northampton team sheet.
Four different managers have walked either in or out of the Sixfields gates since Buchanan signed for the club two and a bit seasons ago but, even after a whirlwind promotion and then a close shave with relegation, he seems immovable from the left-back slot.
Saturday’s defeat to Rotherham was Buchanan’s 120th appearance for the Cobblers. All 120 have come as a stater, and in all he’s missed only 210 of the 10,890 minutes of football Northampton have played in the last two and a bit seasons – meaning he’s been on the pitch for a little more than 98 per cent of time.
And there’s no sign of his love for the game, or the Cobblers for that matter, diminishing any time soon.
Whether it’s a Checkatrade Trophy game at Peterborough or a crunch league tie with Bristol Rovers, Buchanan is desperate to be involved.
“I’ve always said that I want to play in every game and if selected I’ll give my all,” he said.
“It’s a short career and I just want to chalk off as man games as I can. I’ve only missed one game since I’ve been at the football club and that was because of a red card.
“So if selected on Tuesday I’ll be raring to go.”
Even if it is a local derby against rivals Peterborough, Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy clash is unlikely to whet the appetite for many Cobblers fans. It is, however, a chance to register a rare win.
“It’s another football match, whether the gaffer keeps the same team or changes it,” added Buchanan.
I want to thank them (the fans) again. They travelled away to MK Dons with 2,500 and they went to Rotherham and they were outstanding all day. They backed us even when we were 1-0 down and it’s really appreciated.
“It’s another chance to win, it’s a chance to get that winning feeling and we all know what happened in the league game so the fans will be up for it.
“I want to thank them again. They travelled away to MK Dons with 2,500 and they went to Rotherham and they were outstanding all day. They backed us even when we were 1-0 down and it’s really appreciated.”
Despite results not going their way, recent performances continue to offer more encouragement than they did prior to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s arrival.
If they can maintain the current level in the upcoming weeks when they face several teams around them in the table, their time in the bottom four will be short-lived.
“He’s demanding more, which is good and everyone can see the turnaround and how much better we are,” said Buchanan on his new boss.
“We’re creating chances, we’re very hard to beat and we’re only conceding one goal but that’s enough to beat us so we’ve got to turn that around quickly.
“We’ve got big games coming up at home and we’ve got to get wins on the board.
“You can’t be unlucky and feel sorry for yourselves, you’ve got to start winning football matches because we’re in the bottom four and that’s not where we want to be.
“We’ve been on the end of a couple of tight games. Goals change games and (on Saturday) there were chances at both ends.
“We had the first two chances of the game and they were great chances from our point of view. When you’re away from home, especially at a free-scoring team like them, you have to get your noses in front.”
So what is it about Hasselbaink that has prompted such an improvement?
“I think it’s hard work,” explained Buchanan. “He knows what he wants and he’s very, very good at getting his point across.
“He’s clear in his message in how he wants you to play in your position and what he expects of you.
“If you’re not doing your job he tells you and you won’t be in the team, but if you are and if you’re working hard in training, he’ll give you a chance.
“You can see that with the likes of George Smith and Raheem Hanley. They’ve done well in training and they’ve been given a chance and they’ve done well.”