Peaks looking forward to Diamonds’ southern return

AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks is looking forward to a return to the Southern League
AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks is looking forward to a return to the Southern League

Andy Peaks is looking forward to a return to the Evo-Stik Southern League for AFC Rushden & Diamonds next season.

Having finished in the play-off places in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South in the last campaign before eventually losing to Witton Albion in the semi-finals, Diamonds are now set to head south once again with a return to the Division One Central.

Peaks’ team reached the play-off final, in which they lost to St Ives Town, in that division just over a year ago.

It looks set to be an important campaign ahead for the club as they prepare for a proposed move to Rushden & Higham United’s Hayden Road ground in Rushden, although they are likely to start the new season with a temporary groundshare at Kempston Rovers.

And Peaks believes the familiarity of Division One Central will be a good thing for Diamonds.

“We are definitely looking forward to it,” he said.

“It’s certainly a division we are a bit more familiar with, I know a lot of the managers in there.

“It was difficult last summer because we were going into a league we didn’t really know and it was a tough division, just like this one we are going back into is.

“But there is a bit less travelling which is helpful and with the proposed move to Hayden Road, we will be doing all we can to make sure we have a positive season.”

Peaks, meanwhile, is confident of retaining the vast majority of the squad that helped Diamonds to a top-five finish for the second season in a row.

And should he be able to do that, he believes it will be a case of simply adding in “key areas”.

“I have spoken to a number of members of the squad and I am hopeful that we will keep the majority of it together,” the Diamonds boss added.

“They did well for us in a tough league last season so if we can keep it together and add two or three in key areas then I think we will have a decent squad in place.”