FEATURE: Buchanan opens up about Sixfields frustrations and urges Cobblers '˜to keep believing' in relegation battle
'It's for the football club because the club is bigger than me or any other player. Whether I'm in the team or not, I want this club to win matches because it means so much to me.'
And that, in a nutshell, sums up David Buchanan.
It is no wonder that he has become such a favourite among supporters, and while he might not be the solution to all of Northampton’s current problems on the pitch, if his attitude off it was replicated throughout the squad, perhaps the team wouldn’t be stranded in such a perilous position at the bottom of League One.
In recent months, Buchanan’s dedication to the Cobblers has been tested to the limit after his rather curious transition from virtual ever-present to bit-part player.
Since the signings of Jordan Turnbull and Joe Bunney in January, both of whom can play at left-back, Buchanan had barely featured in the matchday squad, let alone team, prior to Good Friday.
There were 83 days and 12 games between his starts against Southend and Charlton but Buchanan kept his head down, kept training and kept supporting the team, hoping for a chance.
“It’s been very frustrating, I’m not going to hide away from that,” he admitted. “When you’re out of the team as a professional, you’re not going to be happy.
“But I’ve been in the game a long time and I know that this can happen and all you can do is be professional and come in every day and back the player that’s in your position and back the club.
“I’s all about the football club for me. I come in and train hard every day and try to be as positive as I can around the lads.
“I’ll do everything I can, whether I’m in the team or not, to gee the lads up and get them going again.”
When Buchanan’s chance finally came, it did not go to plan for either him or the Cobblers. Thrashed 4-0 by Charlton - and it could have been many more - so-called Good Friday turned out to be just the latest grim day in what is becoming a very grim season for Town, one which looks destined to end in the inevitable: relegation.
The defeat made it eight games without a victory for Northampton, with Buchanan adding: “It’s obviously not at all the result I wanted on my comeback and it’s unacceptable from the players.
“We’ve trained hard all week and we started the first 10 minutes brightly but we conceded the goal and it knocked us.
“Charlton were full of energy, they passed the ball well and looked sharp and the better team won on the day, no doubt about it.
“We’re in a position where we’re fighting for our lives and make no bones about it, we’re doing everything we can.
“We have to stop these goals going in. One goal can’t turn into two or three which has happened a lot of times this season.
“It’s not just a defensive problem that we’re conceding goals. We’re a team and it’s down to everybody doing their jobs properly.
“Sometimes, a lot of times, it’s individual mistakes but I said to the lads in the dressing room that we have to keep going and dust ourselves down.
“There’s no hiding places for anybody and no-one can take credit coming out of the game because we’ve been beat 4-0 at home and our home form isn’t good enough.”
Also beaten by rivals Peterborough United on Easter Monday, Northampton’s survival hopes look all but gone. The table and the remaining fixtures offer the slimmest of chances but the performances on the pitch leave you wondering where the next point will come from, let alone the three or four wins required to stay up.
“While we still in it, we’ll keep fighting and we’ve got to keep believing,” insisted Buchanan.
“It’s difficult to speak after a defeat like Friday’s because you have a lot of things going on in your head but there’s a chance.
“We play teams around us, the likes of Blackpool, Bury, Walsall and that, so we’ve just got to get that win to turn a corner. I know it’s hard with the run we’re on.”
The atmosphere at Sixfields on Friday threatened to turn ugly from the moment Ben Reeves headed Charlton into a 14th minute lead, and with Tariqe Fosu adding a second just five minutes later, the boos that greeted the half-time whistle were as loud as they’ve been all season.
“I can only apologise to the supporters because it’s not good enough to get beat 4-0 at home,” Buchanan added.
“When you’re getting beat in that manner, the fans have got every right to boo. It’s difficult for them when we’re not putting in the performances.
“The game at home against Shrewsbury, I sat in the stand myself and the atmosphere was different class, they were with the team from the first minute.
“It’s up to us to give them something to cheer about but our performances haven’t been good enough so the frustration is understandable.”