Diamonds are aiming for ‘dreamland’

AFC Rushden & Diamonds got past Deeping Rangers earlier in their FA Cup run, which continues in the fourth qualifying round at Barwell on Saturday

AFC Rushden & Diamonds got past Deeping Rangers earlier in their FA Cup run, which continues in the fourth qualifying round at Barwell on Saturday

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AFC Rushden & Diamonds chairman Ralph Burditt says the club will be in “dreamland” if they book themselves a place in the first round proper of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Having already battled through four rounds in the competition, Diamonds head to Evo-Stik Northern League Premier Division side Barwell this weekend as they take part in the fourth qualifying round for the first time in their short history.

Andy Peaks’ side go into the clash on the back of two wins which restored them to a top-three spot in the league.

It also maintained their unbeaten record in the 
Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central so far this season.

Now they are preparing for what is being described as the biggest game in the club’s history as they target a place alongside the Sky Bet League One and Two clubs in Monday’s draw.

And chairman Burditt said: “It would be pretty much dreamland to get into the first-round draw.

“We have been plugging away since the formation of the club, overcoming challenges and hurdles and gradually progressing on and off the pitch.

“And to get to the stage where we have a chance of playing against a professional team and getting the national spotlight on us is literally dreamland for us.

“I am not thinking about it now, though. I will be ecstatic if we are in the hat.

“I have a lot of belief in Andy, the rest of the management team and the players and I am sure they will do us proud on the day.

“I hope that will be enough to get a result.

“It’s certainly one of the biggest games in our history.

“In terms of the financial rewards that are available for one game, it is the biggest.

“It’s a tricky draw to be away from home to a team from a higher level and I am certain Barwell will fancy the fixture.

“But we have a very strong unit here at the club and we know our fans will be travelling up to the match in large numbers.

“I believe that on the day we will give them a very good game and I am hoping we can get something out of it.”