Cobblers defender and vice-captain David Buchanan has reiterated his manager’s plea for everyone to ‘stick together’ after their faltering start to the season continued at the weekend.
Much was expected of Northampton this year following a summer overhaul – and they may well still achieve great things – but three 1-0 defeats has created tangible angst around Sixfields.
But Buchanan says the players take ‘full responsibility’ for their sticky start and that they are determined to put things right, starting this weekend when their search for a first point takes them to Charlton Athletic.
He said: “We win and lose together at this football club and that goes for everybody – the players, the manager, the coaches and the fans.
“It’s frustrating for them to see us to lose football matches because it’s not what they want but let me tell you: we’re all in it together.
“We put pressure on ourselves, it doesn’t matter who we play. We’ve got a group of players here that we think are capable of doing well this year.
I could hear the fans getting frustrated but we’ve got to stick together. Players don’t mean to make mistakes, they’re trying to do the right thing, but I’m just disappointed.
“In the first two games we’ve been solid enough. At Shrewsbury they had a lot of possession but they didn’t really hurt us and we got done with the sucker-punch late on.
“On Saturday for long periods we were the better team. We weren’t overly dominating and we didn’t create chance after chance but a mistake has cost us.
“It’s just so frustrating to lose that game, but we take full responsibility as players on the pitch and all we can do is get back in and try to put it right.
“We go to Charlton, we’ll all stick together and that’s the fans included.”
Introduced as a second-half substitute only moments earlier, it was young Shaun McWilliams who made the unfortunate mistake which led to Fleetwood’s winner on Saturday as he lost possession in midfield and Devante Cole finished off a slick breakaway.
It was an understandably gut-wrenching moment for the homegrown 19-year-old, who sunk to his knees in sheer frustration once Cole’s shot found the net, but Buchanan, an experience pro, is confident that he will bounce back stronger.
“There’s no blame on Shaun,” he said. “He’s a fantastic young player and he’s regarded really highly in our dressing room.
“We’ll all get round each other and regroup for Charlton.”
Arguably, what cost Northampton more on Saturday was their inability to finish off chances when four glaring opportunities came along in the space of 30 seconds.
Billy Waters had a header cleared off the line before Aaron Pierre twice and Waters again were somehow kept out by a sensational triple save from Fleetwood goalkeeper Alex Cairns.
Buchanan continued: “It’s the old cliche that we always use – goals change games. If we’re 1-0 up going into the final 15 or 20 minutes then they have to come out at us to get something and that’s when we can pick them off and put the balls into good areas.
“We didn’t have many clear-cut chances but we had two chances from point-blank range and one of them has to go in the back of the net, but no one means to miss.
“The second-half was a stalemate. It’s not pretty on the eye and then we cause our own problems by giving the ball away in the middle of the pitch and we got punished for it. We’ve got to learn from it.”