Peaks looking forward to a return home as Diamonds begin Trophy campaign

AFC Rushden & Diamonds will be hoping winger Claudiu Hoban recovers from a knee injury in time for this weekend's FA Trophy clash with Basford United
AFC Rushden & Diamonds will be hoping winger Claudiu Hoban recovers from a knee injury in time for this weekend's FA Trophy clash with Basford United

After the controversy of midweek, AFC Rushden & Diamonds return home this weekend as they get their FA Trophy campaign under way.

Diamonds take on Evo-Stik Northern League Division One South side Basford United in the preliminary round tie at the Dog & Duck.

And boss Andy Peaks has admitted he will be glad to get back on home soil following an interesting couple of games on the road.

Diamonds eased into the third qualifying round of the FA Cup with a 3-0 victory at Deeping Rangers last Saturday, which earned them a home tie with Ashton United next weekend.

But that was followed by a controversial return to Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central action on Tuesday evening.

Diamonds’ clash at Kings Langley was abandoned in the dying minutes with the score at 1-1.

Two altercations between rival players and coaching staff, which came after Diamonds had grabbed a late equaliser through Dan Quigley led to the referee calling a halt to proceedings.

Either way, it means Diamonds head into another change of competition this weekend still on a 31-match unbeaten run.

Within that incredible effort is an even better home record with the last time they tasted defeat on their own patch being in the NFA Hillier Senior Cup almost a year ago when Brackley Town were 4-3 winners at the Dog & Duck.

And Peaks is looking forward to getting his players back in front of their own fans as they bid to start another run in a different competition.

“We have had Basford watched and it will be another tough game as they all are,” the Diamonds boss said.

“They were very good last season and I am sure they will come here to have a real go at us.

“We have got a very good record at home and obviously we want to keep that going.

“To be honest, it will be good to get back there in front of our fans and I am sure they will give us their full backing as we try to get through to the next round.

“We are in decent form and, no matter what competition it is, we just want to keep that momentum going.

“The FA Trophy is a massive non-League competition and it’s another one we want to do well in.”

Diamonds will be checking on the fitness of winger Claudiu Hoban in the build-up to Saturday’s game after he missed the clash at Kings Langley due to a knee injury, which forced him off early at Deeping last weekend.

Steve Spriggs also missed out again in midweek while defender Jack Ashton remains suspended following his red card during the FA Cup first qualifying round win at Bedfont & Feltham.