Diamonds get a chance to make amends

Andy Peaks
Andy Peaks

Andy Peaks believes his AFC Rushden & Diamonds players will want to “set the record straight” when they head to Kidsgrove Athletic this weekend.

Kidsgrove claimed a 5-2 success at the Dog & Duck last month as they ended Diamonds’ 19-match unbeaten run in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South in devastating fashion.

And Peaks is sure that won’t be far from the minds of his players when they play the reverse fixture on Saturday.

But the Diamonds boss insists the most important thing remains picking up points to aid their bid to secure a play-off place.

Diamonds, who have a big home game against second-placed Spalding United coming up next Tuesday night, are four points clear of sixth-placed Basford United with three games in hand while Leek Town are also chasing them hard.

And Peaks said: “First and foremost, it’s just another big game for us. We have 15 big matches left this season to get us to where we want to be.

“There will be teams who have nothing to play at this stage of the season and we are fortunate that is not the situation for us.

“The next game is always the most important one and we have to focus on Kidsgrove before anything else.

“And, certainly from the players’ point of view, I am sure they will be keen to set the record straight.

“They beat us fair and square last month, they defended well and took their chances.

“But it was one of the heaviest defeats I have had since being manager here and certainly the heaviest one at home.

“So, while we know it is important to make sure we keep picking up points, we definitely see it as a chance to make amends for that loss.”

Peaks is hopeful influential central defender Liam Dolman will be able to play through the pain again as he continued to nurse a leg injury.

And the manager has conceded the centre-half position has been a tough one to fill with Rory Winters also struggling with a knee problem while Jack Ashton remains a long-term absentee.

“Liam has an issue at the top of his leg that he is going to get a second opinion on,” the Diamonds boss added.

“But he has been playing through the pain and I know that if he feels okay, he will play through it again for us.

“It’s tough because Rory Winters is struggling with his knee and we have been without Jack for a long time now. They are big players for us and it’s harder without them.”