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Zander Diamond targets Northampton Town survival after leaving Burton Albion on loan

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 23, 2014

DIAMOND GEEZER . . . defender Zander Diamond, pictured left celebrating a goal against Northampton Town last season, will be hoping to help the Cobblers battle against relegation

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ZANDER Diamond hopes his “experience” can help new club Northampton Town get out of trouble, although the defender does not like the age connotations which come with that label.

The 28-year-old left Burton Albion to join the Cobblers on loan on Friday, and played the full 90 minutes in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Hartlepool.

He had fallen down the Brewers pecking order after being first-choice last season, with Ian Sharps and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff the preferred centre-half pairing.

“I’m looking forward to it, it’s a fresh challenge for me,” he told Northampton’s official club website.

“I got a call from the manager (Chris Wilder) to come down, and as soon as I heard they were interested, I wanted to come and play football.

“My fitness is top-notch, I just needed games and hopefully that starts now, playing a pivotal role in helping Northampton climb this table.

“I’m at an age now where I’ve got to play every week, there’s no point in just doing running after games or up and down the stands, I want to play competitive football.

“It’s a challenge for me coming here, and hopefully we can kick on.

“The manager said there’s 16 games to go, 10 at home, and I’ve come here as a Burton player who got beat here 1-0 last season, so I know it’s a very difficult place to come.

“We’re five point adrift, we’re in a scrap, and the players need to roll their sleeves up and get on with it.”

Diamond played more than 200 games for Aberdeen, where he was involved in a fight against relegation, as well as appearances for Oldham and Scotland Under-21s before becoming a mainstay of the team which reached the League Two play-offs last season.

And although Wilder was pleased to welcome his new signing’s experience into the Northampton dressing room, Diamond said: “I don’t like the tag, because I’m only 28.

“But the manager sees that experience from the games I’ve played in Scotland, and hopefully I can add that to the squad.

“At Aberdeen we were in Europe one season and bottom of the league the next season, like Northampton, who were in the play-off final last season.

“I don’t know what’s gone on at the football club, but you don’t become bad players overnight.

“They seem like a good group of players, and when we played them earlier in the season, we only won 1-0 at the Pirelli, so there’s not a massive gulf between the top and the bottom of the table.”

The Cobblers face play-off chasing Southend United at Sixfields tomorrow night, and also take on leaders Oxford United, third-placed Scunthorpe United and fourth-placed Rochdale before the end of the season.

That could be good news for Brewers fans, if Diamond can help his new club take points off their rivals, but it means a tough challenge for the Cobblers to avoid relegation.

“I’m coming here wanting to help them get out of the predicament,” said Diamond.

“My first and foremost goal is to stop conceding goals, and if we can do that as a team and as a back four then that’s a platform for them to go on and win games.

“If we can keep clean sheets, then we’re doing our jobs.

“I’m sure the manager will tell the players what’s needed, and we’ll put that into practice.”

Meanwhile, Wilder is confident he has signed a good player, given Diamond’s stock at Burton, whom he will be ineligible to face when the teams meet at Sixfields in April.

“He’s at a good club, and they’ve been going very well over the last 18 months since Gary (Rowett) took over and put his stamp on the team,” said the Cobblers boss.

“Zander is an experienced player, he played a lot of games in Scotland, but is in a situation where he’s out of the team.

“He wants to play football.

“He’s an experienced boy, and by all reports, as well as speaking to him and seeing him close up when we played against Burton, he was superb last year.

“Sometimes you fall out of the side and the team does well, and then you can’t get back in.

“They’ve accepted that he wants to go and play football, and he wants to come here. I’m sure he’ll be a valuable player for the situation we’re in.

“He’ll help us defend properly and give us a good solid base to go and win some games of football.”

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