FA Vase & UCL Preview – No surprises in store for Diamonds

Thrapston Town boss Ian Walker takes his team to Stewarts & Lloyds in the FA Vase this weekend
Thrapston Town boss Ian Walker takes his team to Stewarts & Lloyds in the FA Vase this weekend

There will be no surprises for AFC Rushden & Diamonds when they take on yet another Spartan South Midlands League team in a cup match tomorrow (Saturday).

Mark Starmer’s men face Hoddesdon Town in the FA Vase at the Dog & Duck having destroyed Cockfosters 8-0 in Tuesday’s FA Cup first qualifying round replay.

It proved to be a memorable night for striker Russ Dunkley who scored five goals, all with his head, as Diamonds booked themselves a big second qualifying round home date with Cambridge City on Saturday week.

But Starmer wants his team fully focused on the next job and that is to ensure they enjoy another good run in the Vase.

He said: “We will look forward to it (the Cambridge game) but we must concentrate on the Vase.

“It is a big game for us and we want to go as far as we can.

“In a way, it is good we are playing another team from that league because we know what to expect from the teams in that league now.

“They will be big, strong and well organised. And they will try to play good football in the final third.

“We will have to be on our game. We have been away in the other matches and it has been tough but we have managed to finish the job at home.

“We know how they will set up and we expect them to be good going forward. But it is all about us adapting to the game and making sure we take the chances.”

Wellingborough Town head to Haringey Borough for their FA Vase second qualifying round clash while Desborough Town entertain Teversal.

Ar Tarn boss Steve Walker said: “We know a bit about Teversal because Harborough played them in the FA Cup.

“They are from a level below but have done quite well. But, with virtually a full-strength squad, I expect us to perform well and get a good result.”

There is a derby clash in the Vase at Occupation Road as UCL Premier Division side Stewarts & Lloyds take on Division One outfit Thrapston Town.

Two other Division One sides also compete in the Vase this weekend with Irchester United travelling to Welwyn Garden City while Whitworth head to London APSA.

Rushden & Higham go to Potton United in Division One of the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League tomorrow (Saturday).

And boss Aidy Mann is hoping his team can maintain a decent run of form of late.

The Lankies are unbeaten in four league matches and picked up an impressive 3-0 success at local rivals Burton Park Wanderers last weekend.

They face another tricky test on Saturday but Mann said: “We have already played them this season and we drew so we know what they are about.

“We played very well last weekend, it was a good win and we are on a decent little run in the league.

“It is a strange division this season and I think Oadby and Eynesbury will be up there all the way through because they pay their players.

“We just want to keep our run going.”

The Lankies will be without Craig Lawman and Daryl Lawman but Ben Lord should return while new signing Harry May will be involved again after scoring on his debut last week.

Elsewhere, Raunds Town will put their unbeaten record in the Division One on the line again when they make the trip to Bourne.

Burton Park Wanderers will be looking to bounce back from a home defeat to Rushden & Higham last weekend when they face ON Chenecks at Latimer Park while Rothwell Corinthians are still searching for their first points of the season as they prepare to host fellow strugglers Woodford United.