Dunkley agrees deal with Diamonds

Russ Dunkley, pictured during the penalty shoot-out win over Hinckley AFC in the Supporters Direct Shield, has signed a contract with AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Picture by Kit Mallin
Russ Dunkley, pictured during the penalty shoot-out win over Hinckley AFC in the Supporters Direct Shield, has signed a contract with AFC Rushden & Diamonds. Picture by Kit Mallin
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Russ Dunkley has signed a one-year contract with AFC Rushden & Diamonds ahead of the new ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division campaign.

Diamonds kick off the new season with a home clash against Sleaford Town on Saturday and they have received a welcome boost after striker Dunkley committed his immediate future to the club.

Dunkley was a key figure for Diamonds during the last campaign as he struck 23 times, including a memorable five-goal haul with his head in an FA Cup clash with Cockfosters.

Chairman Ralph Burditt confirmed the club had received approaches about the striker, including one from Southern League Premier Division outfit Cambridge City during last season.

Burditt added: “Russ has shown all the qualities which we look for in a player during his time at the club – desire, commitment, passion and respect.

“He is a man of his word and has already said that he isn’t going anywhere this season, which was good enough for both myself and the management team.

“However, it’s no secret that we’ve had approaches for him from clubs at higher levels, for example Cambridge City, so when we began to speak about plans for the forthcoming season, we agreed with Russ that the best thing to do was to get his commitment to AFC R&D down on paper.

“This way, any distractions such as approaches from other clubs and the speculation surrounding them are removed and Russ can concentrate on doing what he does best – scoring goals.”

Diamonds boss Andy Peaks said: “I am delighted that Russ has pledged his commitment to the club – he’s an important player for us and came back to pre-season training in excellent physical condition.

“I hope that this signing goes some way to demonstrating the ambition which both myself and the club share for a successful season on the pitch.”