AFC Rushden & Diamonds urged to go and 'finish the job'
It now looks to be a question of when, rather than if, Diamonds can wrap up a top-five finish after they opened up a seven-point gap on the chasing pack with just five games of the regular season remaining.
Diamonds claimed a fine 3-1 victory at Redditch United on Saturday, thanks to a superb Jesse Akubuine strike and two goals from captain Alex Collard.
They followed that up with a 0-0 draw at relegation-threatened Biggleswade Town on Tuesday evening, which was their final game in hand on sixth-placed Alvechurch.
Diamonds now know that three wins from their final five matches will guarantee a play-off place but, in reality, they might not even need that many.
They return to Hayden Road on Saturday to take on seventh-placed Leiston who are a huge 11 points behind Diamonds.
But Burgess insists his team “haven’t achieved anything yet” and he wants to ensure the players get what they deserve for their impressive efforts over the past few months that have resulted in a stunning surge into the top five.
“Leiston have conceded quite a few goals but they have put themselves into a position where they are still within touching distance of us,” interim boss Burgess said.
“We have to prepare properly and we have to go into it with the right mentality. It’s an opportunity to pull further away from them.
“We’ve not achieved anything yet. We have put ourselves in a really good position but we have got to get over the line and finish the job.
“If we don’t get in the play-offs now, it will be a disaster after the work the lads have done and the effort they have put in.
“I think they feel they have proved a few people wrong by getting themselves to where they are.
“It’s in our hands and we are pleased with where we are but we need to make sure we finish the job the boys have done up to this point.”
Burgess was forced to revert to a 4-3-3 formation from his preferred 4-4-2 for the midweek stalemate at Biggleswade with midfield duo Ben Diamond and Fernando Bell-Toxtle both ruled out.
Burgess revealed Shane Bush played through a knee injury while Ryan Hughes and Matty Slinn remain sidelined with hamstring injuries.
But the manager is hopeful Diamond and Bell-Toxtle will be available again for this weekend’s clash.
“We have had a few knocks so we have got to assess the squad before the weekend,” Burgess added.
“Hopefully, we will have some bodies back on Saturday that will allow us to go back to the shape we want to play.”
As well as their push for a play-off place, it has now been confirmed Diamonds will play league rivals Peterborough Sports in the final of the NFA Hillier Senior Cup at Sixfields on Tuesday, April 12 (7.45pm kick-off).