Cobblers defender David Buchanan has called on his fellow players to step up and take responsibility for the team’s ongoing struggles after giving his complete backing to Dean Austin, describing the under-pressure manager as ‘first-class’ and ‘on a par’ with Chris Wilder.
Town’s sluggish start to the season had already created a few murmurs of discontent among supporters before they were humbled 3-1 at home by previously out-of-form and currently managerless Cheltenham Town on Saturday afternoon.
The nature of the defeat only served to create further angst and frustration in the stands at the PTS Academy Stadium following on from last season’s relegation, placing more pressure on Austin and his team to turn their fortunes around.
Saturday’s loss means the Cobblers are languishing down in 20th in Sky Bet League Two with just six points from seven games so far ahead of this weekend’s trip to 17th-placed Port Vale.
Austin has taken much of the flak for the defeat and Town’s general indifferent form but Buchanan, who made his 150th Northampton appearance against Cheltenham, gave a strong defence of his manager and insisted the onus is on the players to put things right.
“The players have to take responsibility because the gaffer gives us everything,” he said in the aftermath of Saturday’s defeat.
“The way he’s got us playing and what he does day-to-day in his preparation for games and the way he is, it’s first-class and we’ve got to start stepping up. We need to get a result for him.”
Buchanan has seen it all during his three years at Northampton having played a key role in the title success under Wilder in 2015/16 before enduring two tough League One campaigns with neither Rob Page, Justin Edinburgh nor Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink lasting more than nine months in charge.
Austin is the latest to feel the heat and some fans have already called for his head even at this early stage of the season, however Buchanan feels it would be a mistake to change managers once again, especially given the encouraging manner of previous performances prior to Saturday.
“The gaffer’s the only man I want at this football club,” insisted the 32-year-old. “I’ve been here for four years now, Saturday was my 150th appearance for the club and he’s the best manager I’ve worked with apart from Chris Wilder and Alan Knill – and he’s on a par with those two.
The gaffer’s the only man I want at this football club. I’ve been here for four years now and he’s the best manager I’ve worked with apart from Chris Wilder and Alan Knill – and he’s on a par with those two.
“It’s just that I haven’t worked with him for as long as them. His philosophy and the way he wants us to play the game, how he coaches us day-to-day, his preparation, everything about him is first-class. He’s the man for the job.”
But the left-back also conceded that results must improve sooner rather than later, adding: “It needs to change quickly. What are we going to do about it? Are we going to sulk? Or are we going to come back next week, have our chests out and work harder? That’s all we can do.
“As a group of players, we’ve got to stand up and be counted because the manager and his coaching staff are giving everything to us.”