David Buchanan says the Cobblers squad has shaken off the disappointment of last season’s relegation, and the team is ready to bounce straight back.
The 32-year-old admits dropping out of Sky Bet League One last season was a bitter pill for him and his team-mates to swallow, but added it is already consigned to the history books and they won’t be dwelling on it.
The upturn in form under caretaker manager Dean Austin at the end of last season wasn’t enough to rescue to the Cobblers from their relegation fate, but Buchanan says the team’s form did at least give the players some confidence and, crucially, got the fans ‘back onside’.
Asked if the squad is now over the relegation, Buchanan said: “I think over the summer it is difficult, certainly for the first few weeks as it is never nice to be relegated.
“But once you step through the door on the first day of pre-season you just have to put the past behind you.
“You put one foot in front of the other and kick on.
“The manager has been positive since he took over, and that is reflected in the players.
“We have all gelled together over the course of pre-season, and we just can’t wait to get started now.”
And speaking ahead of the season opener against Lincoln City on Saturday, Buchanan added: “It was too little too late last season, but the main thing from that is that we didn’t go down without a fight.
“We got the supporters and punters back on our side which is important, and for the first game of the season it is going to be a full house here.
“I have always said, no matter what league we are in, our supporters will come out in their numbers to back us, and Lincoln have a good following as well.
“It’s a game to look forward to.”
After successive summers of upheaval when it comes to the playing squad, it has at least been a settled close season for the Cobblers, with only a handful of players leaving, and just four coming in.
Austin is new to the job of course, and Buchanan says the players are enjoying the new manager’s approach.
“When a new manager comes in the slate has to be wiped clean,” said the left-back, who has made 143 starts for the Cobblers since signing for the club three years ago.
“It’s a new manager with new ideas and a new philosophy, and every player has been given a chance by the gaffer.
“It is up to us now to take the shirt and keep it.”