An enforced break is no bad thing for Diamonds

Jack Ashton shows his delight after he gave AFC Rushden & Diamonds the lead in their 1-1 draw at Hitchin Town on Monday. Picture courtesy of HawkinsImages
Jack Ashton shows his delight after he gave AFC Rushden & Diamonds the lead in their 1-1 draw at Hitchin Town on Monday. Picture courtesy of HawkinsImages

Andy Peaks believes an enforced break from action might just have come at a good time for AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

Diamonds’ early exit from the Emirates FA Cup at Enfield Town nearly two weeks ago means they are without a game this weekend and won’t be action until they head to current leaders Hednesford Town in the BetVictor Southern League Premier Central a week on Saturday.

Peaks’ team have enjoyed a steady start to their league campaign, although he was left slightly frustrated after Diamonds were held to a 1-1 draw – their third in a row in the league – at Hitchin Town on Monday night.

Jack Ashton headed Diamonds into a second-half lead but a late penalty ensured honours ended even at Top Field.

The midweek results have left Diamonds sitting in sixth place in the table.

And, with the likes of Liam Dolman and Ben Farrell sidelined by injury, Peaks believes the break from action might not be a bad thing.

“You never want to be out of the FA Cup early but I think this break actually comes at a good time for us, it’s a chance to rest a few bodies,” the Diamonds boss said.

“We are sitting in the top six after eight games and I think we would have taken that.

“There are things to work on, particularly when it comes to converting chances but I am sure that will come for us.

“I think we should be two points better off than we are but I am quite upbeat about where we are at this moment in time.”

With Dolman and Farrell unable to play a part on Monday, Peaks made changes with youngsters Patrick Casey and Matthew Slinn coming into the starting line-up.

And the manager was pleased with what he saw from the young duo.

Casey has come through the ranks to be part of the first-team squad at Hayden Road while Slinn has performed well since joining in the summer after he was released from the Northampton Town Academy.

“The real positive coming out of Monday was that we were able to make changes and we still produced a good performance,” Peaks added.

“We had youngsters like Paddy Casey and Matty Slinn who have proved they can play at this level and that’s what we want to see.

“These young players will only get better with time and I think we have a good balance in the squad."