Joe Bunney admits he is ‘nowhere near’ being the finished article as a left-back, but says he is learning all the time and quickly settling into life at the Cobblers.
Signed from Town’s Sky Bet League One rivals Rochdale for an undisclosed fee in mid-January, the 24-year-old has played in all seven games the club has played since he joined.
After a flying start to his Cobblers career, with goal assists in his first two matches, things haven’t gone quite so smoothly for Bunney or the team in recent games, but he says it is a matter of time before things click.
“I am nowhere near the finished full-back, and I know that myself,” said Bunney, who was a striker until being converted to a left-back by Rochdale boss Keith Hill a couple of years ago.
“I am an attacking full-back in this team, and with the position we are in it is a but more about bringing the reins in and building a foundation of a 0-0 and then getting something from the game.
“Eventually I will settle in and I will go on the overlap, I don’t mind playing with any winger and having something different.
“Sometimes I am giving it to Gboly Ariyibi and he will run past players, then I’ll have Sam Foley on the inside and I’ll run round the outside, and it is different. I like the variations.”
The fact Bunney has played with so many different left-wingers in front of him may be one of the reasons for any inconsistency, and also the team’s, as all the signings made in January really get to know each other.
“We are getting there,” said Bunney, who last week moved into to a flat in Northampton, having spent the first four weeks of his Town career commuting from Manchester.
“The team is still gelling, and I am still working players out.
“I’ve played with Gboly, I’ve played with Hilbeberto (Pereira), I’ve played with a few different wingers, with Sam Hoskins, and I am just working things out.
“At my previous club I played with the same winger every week and we had a bit of a connection, so here I am just working players out, what they are good at, what I am good at, and just settling into the team gradually.”
The Cobblers were without a game last Sunday, and while they were out of action, relegation rivals Oldham Athletic won at Scunthorpe United to leapfrog Town and drop them to fifth bottom in the table.
Rochdale were then 3-0 winners at Walsall on Tuesday to move to within nine points of Town with four games in hand, and it is tightening up at the bottom of league one.
But Bunney insists the Town squad are not panicking, and believes their quality will shine through in the final games of the season.
Asked if the squad ever discusses the possibility of relegation, Bunney said: “It’s not really talked about, and we don’t look at the league table. It’s a cliche, but we are taking each game as it comes.
“There are 11 matches to play, still a lot of points to play for, and I think we are capable of beating any team in this division, so there is no reason why we should talk about relegation.”
The Cobblers are back in action on Saturday when they travel to Bristol Rovers (ko 3pm), before playing host to Rotherham United on March 17.
Meanwhile, Town’s home clash with Shrewsbury Town, which was scheduled for Saturday, April 7, will now need to be rearranged as the Shrews will be playing in the EFL Checkatrade Trophy Final at Wembley on April 8.
Paul Hurst’s men booked a final date against Lincoln City with their 1-0 semi-final win over Yeovil Town on Tuesday night.