When it comes to keeping track of his own career statistics, Northampton Town’s Aaron McGowan is as clued up as anybody.
And when the defender went on social media to find he’d made not only the Sky Bet League Two Team of the Week, but the EFL Team of the Week, he'd already checked his own WhoScored ratings.
“I had a look on the website the other day and I was pleasantly surprised!” he laughed.
“My partner at centre-back, Fraser Horsfall, is the same. It could have been anyone on Saturday and moving forward, hopefully there’s many more for myself and for my team-mates.”
The Cobblers have enjoyed an upturn in form of late, following a mixed start to the season, registering three wins on the spin in the space of eight days.
Northampton ran out 2-0 winners against Mansfield Town last weekend, with McGowan grabbing his first goal in Cobblers colours, following the result up with an emphatic 3-0 showing over Stevenage in midweek. The team rounded off the week with a 2-0 triumph over Tranmere Rovers on Saturday afternoon.
However, Jon Brady’s men kicked off October with a disappointing defeat to Sutton United, before more woes followed with a narrow 2-1 loss to Hartlepool United. It was then that the Cobblers boss gave his players a talking-to.
“We had a disappointing day at Hartlepool because we felt we should’ve actually won that game. We came in and had a meeting and the gaffer put the imposition on us to sort things out for ourselves. We had to go away, and it was homework basically on what we can do better to take us forward in the season.
“With the three results that have just happened, it seems like we’ve learned our lesson.”
The 26-year-old joined Northampton in the summer, following Kilmarnock team-mates Nicke Kabamba and Mitch Pinnock to Sixfields Stadium, after the Cobblers’ Head of Recruitment, Martin Foyle, who had made attempts to bring McGowan to Motherwell in the past, made tentative inquiries.
And although he wasn’t sure whether the move would transpire at one point, he only had eyes for the EFL.
“He made contact with me three or four weeks earlier than I actually signed,” he said. “Nothing really materialised and then they came back a lot more serious and straight away, I told my former Club that it was something I wanted to do.
“There was a desire to come back down and play in England. I had a year left on my contract, but I felt my time was up in Scotland and it was time to come back into the EFL. I’ve played in England from such a young age, and it was something I really wanted to do. When Northampton came knocking, I knew it was the right fit for me.”
He added: “Even though I’m living away from my family and my fiancé at the minute, we’ve been put in a Club house. I’ve been here for such a short time, but I can comfortably say it’s the best dressing room I’ve ever been involved with so if that doesn’t speak volumes, then I don’t know what does. The way the group have made me feel, it’s been a perfect match.”
The former Morecambe man became the Shrimps' youngest-ever player when he made his debut in April 2013, coming on as an 84th minute substitute against Torquay United.
McGowan also went on to become the youngest player to feature in the 2012/13 EFL season as he cemented his place in Jim Bentley’s side.
“People think I’ve been around for ages and I have been around for nearly a decade actually, but I only just turned 25 last month!” he exclaimed. “I came from being a schoolboy to playing League football in the space of nine months to a year, so you’ve got to grow up fast.
“I expected it to come sooner than other people because I’ve always believed in myself. I worked under Jim Bentley at the time who is like my second dad in football. He gave me my chance when I was 16. Even when I was 20 to 21, playing week in and week out, I’ve already been around for a first-team environment for three or four years. Not many can say they’ve done that.”
Those leadership skills have made him wise beyond his years and despite having his moment of glory against Mansfield, McGowan is more than content to slip below the radar.
“I don’t want to be the superstar of this team; I want to be someone that’s reliable. I’d like to think people can rely on me when the chips are down. That’s what I hope the lads think of me.
“I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror at night if I came off the football pitch and hadn’t given it my all. It might not be good enough sometimes but it’s not in my character to never not try or give it 100%. It wasn’t how I was brought up.”
The weekend’s result saw the Cobblers move into the top three, just a point shy of second-placed Port Vale, and with that attitude, there’s no telling the heights that McGowan and Northampton could reach this season.