Selection dilemma leaves Diamonds boss Peaks facing ‘a double-edged sword’

Andy Peaks has some important decisions to make over his team selection this weekend with AFC Rushden & Diamonds preparing for the play-offs next week

Andy Peaks has some important decisions to make over his team selection this weekend with AFC Rushden & Diamonds preparing for the play-offs next week

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Andy Peaks has admitted he isn’t sure what he will do when it comes to team selection for AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ clash with Godalming Town at the Dog & Duck tomorrow (Saturday).

Diamonds secured their place in the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central play-offs on Tuesday night, despite at 2-0 defeat at title-chasing Egham Town.

Aylesbury were the only side who could catch Diamonds going into the midweek action but their 2-0 home loss to St Ives Town, who will also finish in the top five, ended their hopes.

And it has left the manager with something of a dilemma for this weekend.

Diamonds can finish no higher than fourth, meaning they will be away for the one-off play-off semi-final at one of Kings Langley, Egham or Royston Town, which is set to be played on Tuesday night.

So, with the result on Saturday being fairly meaningless, is he willing to risk his key players?

“It’s a good question,” Peaks said.

“And, to be honest, I am not sure what we will do.

“I want us to win on Saturday because it’s important to go into the play-offs on a positive note.

“But, at the same time, do you risk players picking up injuries before Tuesday night? It’s a double-edged sword.

“Our squad isn’t huge so we are limited in what we can do anyway. But we will have a look at it and then make a decision.”

One thing Peaks doesn’t have to worry about for a while is the NFA Hillier Senior Cup final against Kettering Town.

With both clubs in the hunt for play-offs and promotion in the final week of their respective league seasons, the clash at Sixfields has now been switched to Thursday, May 5 (7.30pm).

That will be four days after the play-off final should Diamonds make it.

And Peaks added: “I think common sense prevailed in the end and it suits both clubs to have the match after the season has finished.

“We are in similar situations because we both have things to play for and when the final comes around, it will take care of itself.

“Hopefully it will be the game everyone wants to see.

“But we have bigger fish to fry at the moment and we are just going to concentrate on our last league game and then the play-offs.”