AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ historic FA Cup run is now “on the backburner”, according to manager Andy Peaks.
Diamonds will battle it out at Evo-Stik Northern League Premier Division side Barwell for a place in the first-round proper next weekend after they reached the fourth qualifying round for the first time in their history with a fine 2-0 success over Ashton United last Saturday.
Peaks rang the changes for Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Histon in the first round of the Red Insure Cup and insists his full focus is now back on the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central campaign, which still sees Diamonds unbeaten.
Due to their FA Cup exploits, they have slipped down the table to seventh but now have back-to-back home games with Potters Bar Town the visitors tomorrow (Saturday) before they take on Fleet Town on Tuesday night.
The Diamonds boss said: “The league has always been my priority. I wanted us to be competitive and that meant aiming for a play-off place. That remains our target.
“It’s going to be a massive day at Barwell, we all know that. But that is on the backburner.
“And what the players have to do over the next two games is produce good performances so they put themselves in contention to play in that game. That should be motivation enough for them.
“The cup is a fantastic distraction to have but it’s back to basics this weekend.
“Whenever the cup run ends, the first thing people will do is look at the league table and that’s what we will be ultimately judged on.
“We have got two home games against teams who have been going well of late so we have to make sure our full focus is in those.”
Diamonds are set to include new signing Tom Liversedge in their squad for this weekend’s clash.