Ton up! Buchanan brimming with pride ahead of his special Cobblers landmark
When David Buchanan steps out at Sixfields to face Port Vale on Tuesday evening, he will mark a phenomenal personal achievement.
Of the 99 matches played by Northampton in all competitions since he signed for the club in May 2015, Buchanan has started all 99 and finished 98. On Tuesday, it will become 100 successive appearances.
That is, of course, barring any late injury problems but injuries and Buchanan do not go hand-in-hand, at least not during his time at Sixfields.
It is a quite remarkable feat for any footballer, let alone an outfield player who plies his trade in a position that combines endurance and physicality, but to those of us who have watched him over the past 18 months, it’s not entirely surprising.
Not content to sit out the odd game or to take it easy, Buchanan puts his heart and soul into everything he does, whether it’s a bog-standard training session or a title-decider.
That determined, unrelenting attitude was evident from early in his Cobblers career and it quickly won him the respect and admiration of fans as well as the captain’s armband whenever Marc Richards was absent.
Bar 45 minutes against Leyton Orient in September 2015, the 30-year-old has played every minute of every Cobblers game since signing.
And it’s not as if those 18 months have been particularly straightforward. Potential extinction, a stunning title triumph and a battle to maintain their League One status; Buchanan has seen it all.
Now, for someone who always puts the team first, its about him. After predictably starting and finishing Saturday’s game at AFC Wimbledon, he is on the verge of something special.
And if there is one Cobblers player who can rest easy in the knowledge he will be selected for the visit of Port Vale, it’s Buchanan.
“It’ll be a very proud moment for myself if I’m honest,” he said. “I haven’t really spoken about it personally but a lot of people at the club have mentioned it to me and we’ve had chats.
“I get paid to be a professional footballer and to play 100 consecutive games for any football club is a great achievement and I’m just proud I’m doing it for this club.
“Since I’ve been here I’ve worked hard everyday, I’ve got a good relationship with the fans and everybody knows that when I step onto the pitch I give my all for the football club.
“I look after myself well off the pitch and I’ve managed to stay injury-free. It’ll be a great achievement for myself and hopefully I can keep kicking on and make it more.”
Dependable in defence and always willing to help out in attack, Buchanan’s continued presence at left-back is all the more impressive given the raft of changes the club has experienced over the last 18 months.
Managers, players and even chairmen have all come and gone but Buchanan remains. And whether it’s Chris Wilder, Rob Page or Justin Edinburgh, he’s always been one of the first names on the team sheet.
“I just want to play every game,” he added. “This career is a short career and I want to get as many appearances as I can.
“As long as I’m fit I want to be selected and if I’m not selected I’m not happy.
“I understand there’ll probably come a time when the run comes to an end, whether that’s through injury or the gaffer decides to freshen the team up.
“But I hope not. I just want to keep doing well for this football club and every match and every day in training that’s all I think about – I put the team first and I want to make sure I can help the team win any way possible.”
And how about his first Cobblers goal to celebrate the occasion? “If I could chip in and get myself a goal on my 100th appearance that’d just top off everything I’ve done so far at this club.”