Doughboys and Diamonds ready for Dog & Duck battle

AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Mark Starmer is gearing up for today's derby clash with Wellingborough Town

AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Mark Starmer is gearing up for today's derby clash with Wellingborough Town

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Wellingborough Town and AFC Rushden & Diamonds do battle in their first-ever league meeting in the Dog & Duck derby this afternoon (3pm).

Landlords Wellingborough are the home side for today before the roles are reversed in the second clash between the pair in the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division on New Year’s Day.

And both managers insist there is a lot more at stake than just the local bragging rights.

Diamonds boss Mark Starmer is looking for a response from his players after their 10-match winning streak was ended in a 2-1 defeat at Boston Town last weekend.

“We need to bounce back from that,” Starmer said.

“We created plenty of chances but weren’t good enough when it counted.

“So it is a big game for a number of reasons. The feeling between the two clubs is good but that will go out of the window for 90 minutes.”

Doughboys manager Craig Adams, meanwhile, believes his team are the underdogs but he has urged his players to play the occasion as well as the opposition.

“It is going to be a big crowd and for some of our lads, it will be the biggest attendance they will every perform in front of,” Adams said.

“Financially, there is a massive gulf between the two clubs.

“But we have been going pretty well and we will be ready for what they will throw at us.

“There is more pressure on them than us.”

Desborough Town boss Ian Walker has labelled today’s derby clash at Harborough Town (1pm) as a “massive game for both clubs”.

Ar Tarn, who also face a stern test on Saturday when they entertain leaders Spalding United, go into the match against their A6 rivals on the back of a first win at the helm for the manager after they beat Sileby Rangers.

Walker said: “It is a massive game both us and Harborough.

“They are scrapping away at the bottom and we want to keep ourselves out of the relegation dogfight.

“We are looking forward to it. We have two huge games and we know it will be hard.

“But we will focus solely on Harborough before thinking about Spalding.”

Stewarts & Lloyds face a tough task this afternoon (3pm) as they travel to high-flying Huntingdon Town before a big game arrives at the weekend when they welcome fellow strugglers Newport Pagnell to Occupation Road.

Following their derby clash with Wellingborough Town today, AFC Rushden & Diamonds take on AFC Kempston at the Dog & Duck on Saturday while the Doughboys go to Sleaford Town.

There is a full programme of action in Division One today and on Saturday with Whitworth’s home clash with local rivals Rushden & Higham (11.30am) being the pick of the Boxing Day clashes.

Thrapston Town take on Burton Park Wanderers (1pm) at Chancery Lane while a third local derby sees Rothwell Corinthians entertaining Raunds Town. Irchester United, meanwhile, make the trip to Bugbrooke (11am).

The standout fixture on Saturday is Burton’s clash with Corinthians at Latimer Park.

Irchester take on high-flying Harrowby, Thrapston travel to ON Chenecks and Raunds face Blackstones at Kiln Park.

Rushden & Higham are also at home as they take on Peterborough Sports and Whitworth welcome Northampton Spencer to London Road.