After twice coming through 90 minutes unscathed in back-to-back cup competitions over the past 10 days, defender Ryan McGivern now has his sights set on forcing his way into Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s plans on a permanent basis.
The Northern Ireland international put pen to paper on a short-term contract earlier this month as cover across Northampton’s defence.
He’s already illustrated his versatility having played 90 minutes at centre-half against Southampton U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy before moving across to left-back for Tuesday’s FA Cup defeat at Scunthorpe United.
Still striving for full fitness after almost a year out of the game, McGivern performed well at Glanford Park but with David Buchanan and others ahead of him, he knows it’s a stiff task to force his way into the first-team picture and perhaps earn an extended deal at Sixfields.
“Obviously I’m grateful for the minutes,” he said. “It’s been a while since I’ve had a good run in any team so getting minutes under my belt is what I need.
“The manager put me in at left-back and asked me to a job. The result wasn’t great but hopefully I’ve done enough.
“I think it’s a plus for me personally that I’m versatile but I’m not really too fussed about my own performance, it’s more about the team.
“At is stands I’m here until the start of January and it’s down to me to do as much as I can to prove to the manager that I’m worthy of a place here.
“I’ll do my best and when I get chances on the pitch, I’ll try to show him what I’m about.
“You can do as much running and stuff in training but you don’t actually get the proper fitness unless you’re playing in matches and now I’ve had two games in a week.
“That’s good for me and my fitness levels. I’m getting there and I’m getting close.”
McGivern was one of nine changes to the team on Tuesday as Hasselbaink’s makeshift side were knocked out of the FA Cup after a below-par performance.
“I don’t think you can blame the changes,” added McGivern. “Obviously the manager made a few changes but it’s a chance for players like myself to go and try to show him what we’re about and take the opportunity we best we can.
“I’m not sure if we did that, especially in the first-half. We were a little bit better in the second and once we did get the ball down and strung two or three passes together, there were chances there.
“On another night we put one of them in the net, the tie goes to extra-time and we’re talking about a different story, but it wasn’t to be and unfortunately we go out.”
After successive FA Cup ties, the two sides will do battle for the third time in 15 days on Saturday.
A goalless draw in the first cup game at Sixfields two weeks meant a replay at Glanford Park on Tuesday and with Scunthorpe progressing thanks to Hakeeb Adelakun’s superb strike, the Cobblers will be hoping it’s their turn to taste victory.
“We drew the first one and lost Tuesday so the onus is on us on Saturday to keep pushing up the league table,” continued McGivern.
“Obviously we wanted to keep the run going before the game (on Tuesday), regardless of whether there’s changes to the team or not.
“We felt we had enough to go there and get a result but the good thing about football is that we have another game and there’s no better way of putting it right by getting three points and keeping the league form going.”