Defender reflects on his return to Pride Park, assesses the January Transfer Window and discusses how Latics got back to their best defensively against his former club on New Year’s Eve.
- Jake Buxton talks to Latics PlayerHD after 0-0 draw at Derby County.
- Buxton: “This is a very important period for the football club”
- 31-year-old thankful for his reception on return to Pride Park Stadium.
“We are coming into a very important period for the football club; this window is an opportunity for the manager to put his stamp on the squad,” Buxton explained.
“We expect new faces to come into the squad and challenge for places and competition for places will only be good for the footballers at this club.
“It’s a tough time for us; but we have to keep going and when some new faces come in we will have to stand up and be counted, gel nicely and kick on.”
Latics sit five points from safety just after the halfway point of the Championship campaign, though they did end their five-game losing streak with a 0-0 draw at Derby County on New Year’s Eve.
And Buxton says wins are required and a substantial points return to secure second tier football at the DW Stadium next season.
“We are just over halfway into the season and the points tally we have isn’t good enough,” he continued. “We have to better that now; for how tough the first-half of the season has been, the second-half is going to be even tougher.
“We have got to improve; there is a cluster of five or six clubs down at the bottom and we have to make sure we stay in that pack up until the final games of the season.”
Reflecting on the game at Pride Park, Buxton was taking heart from a much-improved defensive performance.
“As the game went on, we invited pressure and naturally went a bit deeper so there were times at the end of the game where they got into our box but I still felt we were always in control,” Buxton said.
“The organisation and the setup this week has been very good; we spoke as a group about what we need to improve on and credit to the coaching staff because they’ve took on board what we have said and, as a result, we’ve shown a more organised performance and were better with the ball as well.”
In a nice moment at the end of the 90 minutes, Buxton was applauded by each corner of the ground as the travelling Latics support cheered their current centre-back and the Rams’ home fans applauded their ex-captain, who spent seven years with them before joining Latics in the summer.
And, though Buxton acknowledged it was a special moment for him, he said the important thing was to focus on the match itself.
“I said to the lads before the game that it wasn’t about me, it’s about what we do now and we needed a response on the back of performances and results of late,” he explained.
“It was nice to get a result for us most importantly and then yes at the end it was nice for me to get a swansong and get support not only off the Derby fans but also a great reception from the Wigan fans too.