AFC Rushden & Diamonds chairman Ralph Burditt insists the club are focused on the “job in hand” following the shock departure of manager Andy Peaks.
Having led Diamonds into the top five of the Southern League Premier Central after a fine run of form over the last four months, Peaks has now left Hayden Road to take over as the new boss of league rivals Tamworth with assistant-manager Neil Champelovier also leaving.
With a potential play-off place at stake, the Diamonds board have moved quickly with the club’s
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Moulton College Education head Tim Dudding being asked to prepare the first team for their clash at Biggleswade Town on Saturday and he will be supported by first-team coach Scott Carlin, who has decided to remain at Hayden Road.
Burditt paid tribute to the job Peaks did at Diamonds after eight years as manager and 10 with the club in total having previously been the assistant to the club’s first-ever boss Mark Starmer.
But it’s clear Diamonds are already planning for life after Peaks.
“Andy is somebody who is very much loved by people at the club in general and who has been very popular with the supporters during his time here,” the Diamonds chairman said.
“And I don’t think this news changes that in any regard. Andy is going with our best wishes and with our thanks for all of his hard work over the 10 years he has been with us.
“The timing isn’t ideal but opportunities in football are like that.
“For us, as a club, having heard that Andy was moving on, we are focusing on the job in hand and the job in hand for the club is the Biggleswade game on Saturday and continuing with the work that the whole squad and management team have been doing very well to this point.
“Tim Dudding will be leading first-team operations looking into the weekend and we have asked him to prepare the team for Saturday.
“Tim is the head of our scholarship phase at Moulton College and he is a UEFA A licence holder.
“Scott Carlin will be supporting him and Scott has been around the first-team for as long as Andy had so he is very capable in that role as well.”
The next question, of course, is who will be installed as the permanent replacement to Peaks.
A number of names have been thrown into the melting pot already with Harborough Town boss Mitch Austin, Daventry Town manager Aaron Parkinson and former Biggleswade Town boss Chris Nunn amongst those mentioned as a potential successor.
Burditt revealed a number of applicants have already come forward, despite the club not even advertising the position yet and he insists there is currently no “specific time frame” although he insists finding a new manager is the club’s top priority.
“What’s been nice to be reminded of is the high esteem that football holds our club in,” chairman Burditt added.
“To this point, we haven’t actually advertised for applicants but applicants have been forthcoming nonetheless.
“It does appear that my email address and the club secretary’s email address are widely known and, of course, we as a board will speak to anybody who wishes to get in contact with us.
“We are working on it as hard as we possibly can.
“We wanted to put the news out there quickly to people inside the club and externally that Tim will be leading things and Scott will be supporting him to ensure everyone understands that there is consistency and that, just because we have had a change, it doesn’t change anything about what we are trying to achieve this season.
“So we don’t have a specific time frame in mind but I can assure everyone that the whole board are actively working on this as a matter of priority.”