Opportunity will knock in the Rushden derby

Hayden Road will be the setting for the Chris Ruff Memorial Cup match between Rushden & Higham United and AFC Rushden & Diamonds this weekend
Hayden Road will be the setting for the Chris Ruff Memorial Cup match between Rushden & Higham United and AFC Rushden & Diamonds this weekend

Andy Peaks is ready to offer an opportunity to trialists and youngsters with AFC Rushden & Diamonds over the next week.

Diamonds’ pre-season continued with an encouraging 2-2 draw at Brackley Town on Tuesday night with their next test being the annual Chris Ruff Memorial Cup with new ground-sharing companions Rushden & Higham United at Hayden Road tomorrow (Saturday).

With further games against Winslow United and at Corby Town to come next week, Peaks is keen to learn even more about his whole squad as the countdown to the new Evo-Stik South League East continues.

“I am looking forward to the game,” Peaks said.

“There is a good relationship between the two clubs and I get on very well with Wayne Abbott.

“I am going to support him as much as possible during the season and if we have lads who need a game then they will go to Rushden & Higham because I know they will be playing on a good pitch and in a good environment.

“As far as the game is concerned, I have got to give a few lads a chance so that we can have a proper look at them.

“We are coming into two or three games against teams who are either at the same level or just below us so that gives me an opportunity.

“I have learned a lot from playing games against teams from a higher level and now it’s a case of us maintaining our performances in matches that may be a bit more low key.”

There was one surprise departure from Diamonds this week with long-serving Brad Harris joining Rugby Town having made over 200 appearances for the club.

And Peaks admitted he was “absolutely gutted” to see the popular utility man leave.

“Brad has been a great servant to the club,” the Diamonds boss said.

“He played for me at Daventry Town and Northampton Spencer before he came here and he has been a credit to the club.

“He is a personal friend of mine and I am absolutely gutted that he has left but I completely understand the reasons why. Financially, it’s a bit better for him, he’s closer to home and he has a young family he wants to spend time with.

“The reaction from everyone here says it all, he will be missed. He’s one of the good people in football and I will certainly remain close friends with him.”