McGowan relishing the battle as Town's new right-back makes a good first impression

'The game was quite competitive for a friendly and it was also a bit aggressive at times, but that’s right up my street!'

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 12:57 pm
Aaron McGowan.

There was a brief passage of play during Tuesday’s friendly with Nottingham Forest that offered a small glimpse into what new boy Aaron McGowan will bring to the Cobblers.

The right-back was faced with a tricky opponent in England U18 winger Alex Mighten and the two engaged in a fascinating battle all game long, but bar one moment when goalkeeper Liam Roberts came to his rescue, Town’s latest addition let very little past him.

In one particular passage, McGowan followed an excellent defensive intervention by charging up the other end and delivering a fine cross for Nicke Kabamba, whose header was well-saved.

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“The game was quite competitive for a friendly and it was also a bit aggressive at times,” said McGowan. “But that’s right up my street!

“I really don’t care who I play against to be honest. I think they have high hopes for the lad but I’m not bothered about that, I felt like I stuck to my task well and it was a good battle.

“I spoke about it when I signed - I really don’t like my winger getting the better of me. As a full-back these days, people can sometimes get carried away with the attacking side of it.

“Of course that’s important and I felt like I showed it at times - I put in four or five good crosses - but my main job as a full-back is to keep their winger quiet and that’ll be my main aim going into every game this season.”

McGowan was arguably the best player on show as Town matched - or even bettered - their Championship opponents throughout the first-half during Tuesday’s entertaining friendly.

Only Forest’s superior quality from the bench made the difference as Lyle Taylor scored within three minutes of his introduction, shortly followed by Cafu’s superb long-range finish.

McGowan, now 10 days into his time at Sixfields, has no regrets about making the move down from Scotland.

“I’m loving it so far,” the 24-year-old added. “The boys are all top lads and the gaffer is speaking to players individually, he’s pulling them into his office telling them what he wants.

“He lets you know what he demands off you as a team and individually and I’m really enjoying my time here so far.

“The gaffer keeps touching on it - you want to build those connections. So when the ball’s on the other side of the pitch, me and my winger need to make sure we’re connected.

“But the more you play with each other, the more you build those connections and that bond and you begin to know each other’s game, but already I feel like we’re building a really good squad all over.”

After lasting nearly 70 minutes on Tuesday, McGowan believes he's ready to play the full 90.

"I was back two or three weeks earlier than Northampton back up in Scotland so I've probably played about five games now," he continued. "I could have done a lot more on Tuesday but everybody needs minutes and that's how it is."

But even when he is at full tilt, he knows he faces a fight to be a regular this season with Michael Harriman sure to be hot on his heels.

“Nothing is a given at all,” he admitted. “Michael is a very good player and that applies right across the pitch but it’s what you need and want.

“I want to be pushed by a very good player because that will bring the best out of me and I know nothing will be given to me.

“Nobody is guaranteed to play the first game of the season but every single person in the squad will want to play and hopefully that strong competition will only help us have a successful season.

“Eleven players won’t keep you at the top end of the table, you need a full squad so the better quality in each position, the better for everyone.”