Buchanan: Caretaker boss Austin has had '˜positive impact' on Cobblers squad
Dave Buchanan has hailed the impact caretaker boss Dean Austin has made since taking over from the sacked Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at Sixfields.
The former Tottenham Hotspur defender was assistant to Hasselbaink during his eight months in charge, and was then promoted to take charge until the end of the season when the Dutchman lost his job in the aftermath of the Easter Monday derby defeat at Peterborough United.
Austin began his caretaker reign with a 3-0 defeat at Blackpool, but last Saturday he oversaw a 3-2 win at Bury to secure the team’s first victory since February 10.
The ex-Watford coach has made some changes to the Cobblers first team line-ups in his opening games, but it has hardly been a revolution, and Buchanan says the major difference has been Austin’s attitude and positivity.
“Dean has been really, really good, and he is such a positive person,” said the Cobblers left-back.
“All he talks about is being positive, and how we can help each other and stick together, and he has focused so much on timings and getting the group heading in the same direction,
“We haven’t got much time, we all know that, and since the change of manager he has had a really positive impact on the lads.”
Town have been left with just three matches to save their Sky Bet League One skins, and they know they must win all three of those to give themselves a realistic chance of staying up, starting with Plymouth Argyle at Sixfields on Saturday (ko 3pm).
The latter matches of Hasselbaink’s reign have proved damaging to the Cobblers’ chances of staying up, with the team suffering four defeats and claiming just one draw in five, and scoring one goal and conceding 12 in the process.
Buchanan was non-committal when asked if the decision to relieve Hasselbaink of his duties should have been made earlier, as he said: “In hindsight maybe, but it’s the powers-that-be who make those decisions, and I am just here to play football.
“I just try and do what I can do for the football club, I turn up for training on time and work as hard as I can on and off the pitch, and if selected I will give my all on a match day.”
Apart from a couple of isolated recalls, Buchanan found himself sidelined in the final months of Hasselbaink being in charge, with the former Chelsea striker going with Joe Bunney at left-back, having signed him for a fee from from Rochdale in the January transfer window.
But there is no bitterness about that on Buchanan’s part, admitting it is part of the game.
“I am a footballer, and that is what I have been since I was 16 or 17 years old and a YTS,” said Buchanan, who has been selected at left-back in both of Austin’s games in charge and is expected to start against the Pilgrims too.
“I am used to playing football matches, especially for this club, but it is part and parcel of the game.
“Sometimes you don’t get selected, and I have just made sure that I have kept myself in good shape and been ready for when I am called upon.
“Anywhere I have ever been there is always going to be competition for places, and there are going to be times when you are number one,and other times when managers will bring other players in to play in your position, and that’s just the way it goes.
“All you can do is knuckle down, and help each other as best you can even though you are competing against each other.
“I get on really well with Joe Bunney, I am a Rochdale lad a Rochdale fan, and I have watched him play a lot, and whoever plays for this football club I will back them 100 per cent.”
Buchanan was delighted to help the Cobblers to victory at Bury last weekend, even though the team did twice throw away the lead and needed a late, late goal from Ash Taylor to seal their first win in 11 matches.
But ahead of Saturday’s crunch clash with Plymouth, the former Preston man admitted that at this stage of the season, winning is all that really matters.
“Now it is just about winning, it doesn’t matter if it’s good, bad or indifferent, and the fact is last Saturday we got the three points, and it was important we did that,” said Buchanan.
“We now just have to do that between now and the end of the season, and it is going to be a really difficult task, but I am really looking forward to getting back out there at Sixfields on Saturday.
“I know what the Cobblers faithful are like, and it has been really difficult for them at times this season, but I know they will be there in full voice on Saturday and backing us.”