Jon Guthrie on enjoying life at Sixfields, the influence of Colin Calderwood and why Cobblers' defensive record is 'no fluke'

“We do a lot of defensive work with Colin Calderwood, who obviously had a great career himself. When he speaks, everyone listens”

By James Heneghan
Wednesday, 30th March 2022, 2:22 pm

Aside from the obvious – winning promotion – Cobblers defender Jon Guthrie has two targets in mind between now and the end of the season: reaching 20 clean sheets and beating centre-back Fraser Horsfall in the goalscoring charts.

The 29-year-old, who’s started all-but two league games after joining the club from Livingstone last summer, has been a steady and reliable presence in the heart of Town’s defence to help them keep a league-high 18 clean sheets.

Cobblers’ formidable defensive record is the bedrock of their promotion charge and it’s something that gives Guthrie great pride.

Jon Guthrie has had a fine season.

"In terms of enjoyment, it's right up there as one of my best seasons,” he said. "It helps when things are going so well on the pitch and we have such a close-knit group here with some great characters.

"I'd like to think for the majority I have been quite consistent this season and that's what I base my game on. There is always stuff you can improve on, like any player, but we have kept a lot of clean sheets and that's been good because it's what I was brought to the club to do.

"It would be nice to get to the 20 mark because that's in the back of my mind but generally I am really enjoying myself and really enjoying my football, which is one of the most important things.

"You play your best football when you're happy and I feel I have had a good season but there is still games to go and I want to get more clean sheets and hopefully a few more goals as well.”

It is no accident that Town keep so many clean sheets and concede so few goals, and it is not solely down to the defenders and goalkeeper.

"I think it's probably the best defences I’ve played in,” Guthrie added. "It's not just the clean sheets, it's the amount of shots and chances we give away and how well-drilled we are, not only as a back four but as a whole team.

"Everyone really contributes towards it so defensively-wise, it's definitely right up there as the best I've been involved in and it's not done by fluke. We do a lot of work on the training pitch and in particular a lot of defensive work with Colin (Calderwood), who obviously had a great career himself.

"When he speaks, everyone listens. It's the repetitive nature of working on it over and over. It's not always the most exciting part of training but if it pays off on the Saturdays, we don't mind doing it!”

Guthrie has six goals this season and at one point he was ahead of Horsfall and only one behind Hoskins in the race to be top goalscorer.

However, having not netted since New Year’s Day, the former Walsall man now trails his defensive partner by two.

"I still think I can chase him down,” he added. “Obviously I had that chance against Bristol Rovers, which I should have scored. That would have got me back in the mix.

"I'm running out of games but I'm only two behind so hopefully I can get back ahead of him.”