His debut may have ended in disappointment but new signing Kevin van Veen remains hopeful there are far better times ahead for both himself personally and the Cobblers after getting his first taste of Sixfields on Saturday.
There was much excitement when van Veen put pen to paper with Northampton last week as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink snapped up the striker from Sky Bet League One rivals Scunthorpe United on the penultimate day of the January transfer window.
But the 26-year-old only made the bench for Saturday’s visit of second-bottom Rochdale and while he did come on for Hildeberto Pereira on 56 minutes, there was little for the home crowd to get excited about.
As Town struggled to get going, van Veen was rarely given the service or support required, and on the one occasion he did get a shooting chance, he was unceremoniously dragged to the floor by Rochdale’s Callum Camps.
“Obviously we lost the game and I came on and tried to get a goal for the team but it didn’t work out and it was a very tough game after they scored,” admitted the Dutchman afterwards.
“In the first-half, I think we had a few chances and they had some chances but I felt we were on top and we were unlucky with the opportunities we had, so it’s very disappointing.”
On the incident that led to a yellow card for Camps, who brought down van Veen as he was about to pull the trigger just outside the box, the striker added: “If I get the ball on my right, I’ll hit the target and we’d have been 1-1 but he pulled me back and I don’t think yellow was fair punishment because I could have got a shot off and potentially it was a goal.
“The free-kick went over which was a bit unlucky. I don’t think it was a red card because the other defenders were close but a yellow card is just so easy when he can pull be back as I have a chance to score.”
Van Veen was warmly applauded as he went through his paces down the Sixfields touchline on Saturday and he’s hoping to repay fans for their support once he’s adapted to his new team and is fully up to speed.
“It’s always nice to get applause,” he added. “I just wish I could have done better on the pitch but it was my first few minutes for the club and I need to get used to everything.
I think the centre of the team, the heart of the team, are all Northampton players who have been here., but when you sign new players, you have to adapt and learn how each other wants to play and everyone has to gel.
“I need to learn how the team plays and how the gaffer wants me to play. It wasn’t meant to be on Saturday but I hope the next game will be different.
“I think the centre of the team, the heart of the team, are all Northampton players who have been here., but when you sign new players, you have to adapt and learn how each other wants to play and everyone has to gel.
“The team have been unbeaten for four games so Saturday was disappointing. I didn’t think Rochdale were great first-half. They weren’t bad either but I think it was a winnable game.”
Van Veen will be hopeful of getting his first start this weekend when Town face another one of their relegation rivals in AFC Wimbledon, who, just a point better off, play one of their two games in hand at rock-bottom Bury on Tuesday evening.
He continued: “Obviously I always want to start and I want to score but Chris Long is playing upfront at the moment and he’s a very good striker.
“I’ll wait for my chance and when I get it I need to take it. I hope I can score very soon for Northampton.”
And on Northampton’s survival chances, he confidently stated: “I believe this team can stay up. It’s a very good squad and we just have to get our heads the right way and fight for every point.
“Hopefully we’ll do well and we won’t be relegated. I think we’re too good for that.”