Diamonds will need ‘to be better’ for Trophy clash

Jack Ashton suffered a knee injury during AFC Rushden & Diamonds' draw at Rugby Town. Picture by Martin Pulley
Jack Ashton suffered a knee injury during AFC Rushden & Diamonds' draw at Rugby Town. Picture by Martin Pulley

Andy Peaks has conceded AFC Rushden & Diamonds will need to be “a lot better” if they are to make progress in the Buildbase FA Trophy this weekend.

Diamonds extended their unbeaten run in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South to 11 matches as they battled back from a goal down against rock-bottom Rugby Town on Tuesday night to earn a 1-1 draw.

That came after impressive victories at Spalding United and Stocksbridge Park Steels.

Peaks was disappointed with his team’s display at Butlin Road in midweek but there is no rest for the wicked as they prepare to take on league rivals Lincoln United at the Dog & Duck in tomorrow’s (Saturday) second qualifying round clash.

The Diamonds boss is keen to see his team advance to the next round and he knows they will need an improved display in order to do so.

“It’s an opportunity for us and we will be ready for it,” Peaks said.

“We will have to play a lot better than we did on Tuesday night if we are to get through but I am sure we will be ready to do that.

“It’s a national competition that ends at Wembley so if you don’t want to be part of that, you shouldn’t be involved in football.

“Lincoln are a lot better than their league position suggests and we are certainly going to have to be a lot better than we were at Rugby.

“But it’s another big game for us to look forward to and I want us to win and get through.”

Diamonds will be assessing the fitness of Liam Dolman (calf) and Jack Ashton (knee) after both were forced off during the midweek clash at Rugby while Sam Brown and Jason Lee also remain doubtful.