Diamonds boss Peaks believes in the power of positivity

AFC Rushden & Diamonds are on the road in the Southern League Premier Central this weekend

Alex Collard and Will Jones applaud the travelling fans after AFC Rushden & Diamonds' FA Trophy defeat at Matlock Town last weekend. Pictures courtesy of Hawkins Images
Alex Collard and Will Jones applaud the travelling fans after AFC Rushden & Diamonds' FA Trophy defeat at Matlock Town last weekend. Pictures courtesy of Hawkins Images

Andy Peaks feels the power of positivity is working for AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

The Diamonds boss believes his team are “heading in the right direction” after an encouraging last week or so.

Diamonds claimed an excellent 2-1 victory at Stratford Town in the Southern League Premier Central last Tuesday night thanks to a Ravi Shamsi free-kick and a Ryan Hughes header.

Ravi Shami is congratulated by Patrick Casey after he scored for Diamonds in the FA Trophy loss at Matlock

They then made the trip to Northern Premier League Premier Division leaders Matlock Town in the third qualifying round of the Buildbase FA Trophy at the weekend.

Diamonds were eventually beaten 2-1 but turned in another decent display with Shamsi’s superb second-half strike pulling a goal back while Alex Collard hit the post late on.

In the end, it wasn’t quite enough but Peaks has seen enough over the last two games to suggest his team are beginning to hit their stride.

Diamonds have added another new face to their ranks this week in the form of Aylesbury United striker Ty Deacon, who has scored 11 goals in 16 appearances in all competitions this season.

He is in line to make his debut in tomorrow's (Saturday) tough-looking clash at fifth-placed Hednesford Town while a home clash with Kettering Town in the NFA Hillier Senior Cup follows on next Tuesday evening.

But Peaks’ focus is only on Hednesford and he believes there are plenty of positives for his team to reflect on as they gear up for one of the trickier away games of the campaign.

“We are heading in the right direction,” the Diamonds manager said.

“We have had a lot of new players, younger players mixing in and we have added another one this week, which I am pleased about.

“But over the last week we have seen some good performances.

"We were told how hard Matlock work and their manager was really complimentary to us about how organised we were and how hard the boys worked and I think we have to take that on board.

“Other managers don’t have to say stuff like that and it proves we have pushed them. Alex Collard hit the post late on and if it goes in then we are in a penalty shoot-out.

“We went to Stratford and outworked them and deserved our win so I think we are going in the right direction.

“But we know Hednesford is another tough game, they are sitting in the play-off places for a reason. It’s a big club with some good players.

“We are going to have to be as good as we have been in the last two games to get something.

“We will need all the normal credentials of working hard, being hard to break down and defending set-pieces well but, equally, when we get the ball we must be a threat.

“There are no easy games but certainly Hednesford away is one that, at the start of the season, you put down as being a really tough one.

“We know what to expect and we will have to be right at it.

“I keep saying to the boys that we have to be positive, we have to keep the belief and things will be good.

“I certainly can’t fault the shift they have put in, particularly in the last two games. I think we have given people something to shout about.”