Berwick’s hopes for Diamonds are higher after a fine start

Tommy Berwick in action during AFC Rushden & Diamonds' 2-0 win over Bedford Town on Bank Holiday Monday. Picture by Alison Bagley
Tommy Berwick in action during AFC Rushden & Diamonds' 2-0 win over Bedford Town on Bank Holiday Monday. Picture by Alison Bagley

Tommy Berwick says AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ fine start to the season has filled him with belief that they can challenge for the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central title.

Having kicked off the new campaign with three successive draws, Andy Peaks’ team are now on a run of four wins in a row, one of which came in the preliminary round of the FA Cup as they won 1-0 at Kings Langley last Saturday.

That was followed by a 2-0 victory over Bedford Town on Bank Holiday Monday, which sent Diamonds into second spot in the table.

They are now preparing for a trip to winless North Greenford United on Saturday knowing that if they avoid a loss, it will create a new club record of 28 matches without defeat.

But a win could also put them on top of the table and that is a position that frontman Berwick is beginning to eye up for the long-term.

“During pre-season I think the lads were looking at it and thinking that getting into the play-offs would be a realistic aim,” Berwick said.

“And after we had a tough game against Petersfield on the first day I thought to myself ‘hang on a minute’.

“But now we are few a games in, I really believe we can push for the title.

“Kettering and Rugby have been strong sides at this level in the past couple of years but they have both gone and I don’t think there’s a lot between the rest.

“If we can keep doing what we have been doing then I don’t think we will be far away.”

Berwick could claim to be something of a lucky charm for Diamonds.

He has been with the club for 25 of the past 27 matches they have gone unbeaten and is, therefore, yet to taste defeat in a Diamonds shirt.

But he insists the potential of a record-breaking day this weekend isn’t something the squad are thinking about.

He joked: “We haven’t lost a game since, although how much of that is down to me I am not sure!

“I am just trying to work hard for the team and I think that’s what the manager likes about me.

“To be honest, it (the club record) isn’t something we have spoken about.

“It is a good thing that we have gone on such a good run but it’s not something that is on the players’ minds.

“We are playing well at the moment and we just want to keep it going for as long as possible.”

Diamonds, meanwhile, now know they will travel to Combined Counties League Division One side Bedfont & Feltham in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup a week on Saturday.

Bedfont claimed a 3-1 success at AFC Hayes in their preliminary round replay on Tuesday night.