From one big game to another as Diamonds head for Basford

Action from AFC Rushden & Diamonds' 2-1 defeat to Spalding United on Tuesday night. Picture by Alison Bagley

Action from AFC Rushden & Diamonds' 2-1 defeat to Spalding United on Tuesday night. Picture by Alison Bagley

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Andy Peaks insists this weekend’s clash at Basford United was “always going to be a bigger game” for his AFC Rushden & Diamonds players.

Diamonds came unstuck on Tuesday night as 10-man Spalding United fought back from a goal down to win 2-1 at the Dog & Duck to maintain their pursuit of Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South leaders Shaw Lane.

Despite the setback, Diamonds remain in the final play-off position and are three points clear of Basford with three games in hand while Leek Town are a couple of points further back but have played a game less than Peaks’ team.

Those statistics would suggest tomorrow’s (Saturday) clash looks to be a must-win game for Basford if they are to maintain their push for a top-five finish.

For Diamonds, it is an opportunity to put clear daylight between themselves and their nearest contenders.

But, first and foremost, boss Peaks just wants to see an improvement following Tuesday’s disappointment.

The Diamonds boss said: “We have to kick on. We are still in a good position and I will have still taken this at the start of the season.

“We have to make sure we get Tuesday out of our heads but we have got to learn from it, pick ourselves up and go again.

“You can’t dwell on these things, it hurt at the time but we have to put it into the context of the season.

“In my head, this weekend was always going to be a bigger game because Basford are chasing us.

“It’s on a 3G pitch, which will be a massive advantage to them so we will have to be at our best to get anything.

“We will dust ourselves off, we will train well and we will be ready to produce a better performance than we did on Tuesday.

“We have some tough games right through until the end of the season and we know points can be won and lost when you least expect it.”

Diamonds are set to have Kyal McNulty back in contention for the weekend after the right-back missed the midweek defeat due to illness.