Defender Nyatanga won’t be giving up Cobblers first team place without a fight

Cobblers defender Lewin Nyatanga
Cobblers defender Lewin Nyatanga
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Cobblers defender Lewin Nyatanga is not prepared to simply step aside and watch Gabriel Zakuani steal his place back at the heart of Northampton’s defence.

The two have been in direct competition for the left-sided centre-back position all season but despite impressing in his several outings, Nyatanga is yet to establish himself as Rob Page’s first-choice alongside Zander Diamond, with Zakuani often given the nod.

Much of that owes to the form of Zakuani, who has also regularly shone having signed from Peterborough United in the summer.

But with the former Posh man on international duty for the trip to Gillingham on Saturday, the third time he’s been away this season, Nyatanga played the full 90 minutes and arguably produced the best performance of anyone in a Northampton shirt.

Now, he wants to nail down a regular starting berth.

“I don’t accept it,” he stressed when asked about the possibility of making way for Zakuani this weekend.

“It’s definitely not a case of accepting it but at the end of the day it’s not my decision.

“I just try and train to the best of my ability and be as professional as I can.

“When I play I try to do my best and obviously I want to play as much as possible because I feel the more I play the better I get.

“Whether I think I should play or not, it’s out of my hands and I’ll have to wait and see.”

Nyatanga, who joined on loan from Barnsley in the summer, was as hurt as anyone to concede a last-minute winner at Gillingham, but he’s confident the Cobblers can bounce straight back against old foes Peterborough on Saturday.

The 28-year-old knows exactly what it takes to be a successful League One side having made 28 appearances in Barnsley’s promotion-winning campaign last year.

“I want to be in a winning side,” he added. “I had that experience last year of what it’s like and it’s a good feeling.

“I’m professional in my approach in training and I make sure I do every possible to win football games, so when you lose, your preparation feels like it was for nothing which is disappointing.

“But you keep going. It’s a long season and we’re not even halfway through so we’ll bounce back and look to go again.

“Peterborough is a great game to have and we’ll all be up for it. It’s a big game and it’s a fantastic one to turn last week over and go and get a win.”