COMMENT: Ton-up Buchanan's achievement is a special one
There will be players who have given as much of themselves to the Cobblers cause as Dave Buchanan, but I doubt there is anybody who has given more.
Of all the great decisions that Chris Wilder made during his time as Town boss, and there were many, surely one of the best was signing Buchanan following his release by Preston North End in the summer of 2015.
The Rochdale-born left-back had just been part of the Lilywhites squad promoted from Sky Bet League One to the Championship, but had been frustrated at the fact he had not played in the final four months of the season after losing his place through injury.
Well, there has been no sign of any injury since, and Preston’s loss has very much been the Cobblers’ gain.
On Tuesday night, Buchanan, who made his debut in the opening day 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers in August, 2015, is set to make his 100th consecutive Town start when they host Port Vale at Sixfields.
It is a remarkable achievement, and even more astounding when you factor in that ‘Buchs’ has only missed 90 minutes of football in that time, the only ‘blots’ on what would have been a perfect record being half-time substitutions in a league two game against Leyton Orient in September, 2015, and a Checkatrade Trophy match against West Ham United Under-23s earlier this season.
To play 100 games for a Football League club is a milestone to be proud of, to play 100 in a row, barely missing a minute in the process, is pretty staggering.
There’s been no missing out due to a ‘niggle’, no missing out so he can be ‘rested’ and no missing games through suspension, which, in these days of card-happy referees and forwards who hit the deck when they are breathed opon, is an achievement in itself for such a combative a defender.
And not only will Buchanan have played 100 games in a row, he will have played virtually all of them to a very high standard, defending like a terrier, and not being shy in getting forward to help his team in attack either.
He isn’t a robot of course - although at times it has seemed like it! - so he hasn’t produced to his absolute best in every game, but he has got pretty close on many, many occasions.
And on top of being a strong and reliable defender, Buchanan also gives every single ounce of effort, every last drop of sweat he possibly can in every game.
He leaves it all out on the pitch, and that is why he has been one of the first names on the teamsheet for Wilder, his succcessor Rob Page and now Justin Edinburgh.
I interviewed Buchanan on the day he signed for the Cobblers.
He spoke of joining the club because he loved the ambition of Wilder and assistant Alan Knill, who he had worked with previously at Bury.
He also said: “I think what the fans will get from me every time I walk out on to that pitch with a Northampton shirt on, I will give nothing less than 100 per cent.”
Buchanan has certainly backed that up, with interest, and I am sure the Cobblers fans will on Tuesday night show their appreciation for a player who has given them everything in every minute he has represented their club, doing as much as anybody to ensure that memorable Sky Bet League Two title triumph last season, and doing his very best to ensure they maintain their stay in league one.
The only thing that has been missing for Buchanan during his time at Sixfields is that elusive first goal for the club, although the stats suggest we might still have to wait a while for it.
Before signing for the Cobblers, the 30-year-old had scored just twice in 378 career appearances, which is one goal every 189 matches... so, anytime in the next 90 matches it is then!
Buchanan would of course love to get off the scoring mark for the Cobblers, but the most important thing for him is keeping the ball out at the other end - and that is something he has been pretty good at since signing on at Sixfields.
So well done Buchs, and thank you on behalf of every Cobblers supporter.
Here’s to the next 100,