Diamonds boss Peaks is wary of the Daniels
Andy Peaks insists AFC Rushden & Diamonds will take nothing for granted when they take on Stamford at the Dog & Duck today (Monday, 3pm).
Diamonds head into the derby clash having broken into the top five in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South for the first time this season.
A second-half goal from Lewis Leslie secured a 1-0 victory at Lincoln United last Tuesday night and extended Diamonds’ unbeaten run in the league to 17 matches.
Now they are preparing to return home where they haven’t had things their own way with six draws in nine outings on their own patch so far.
The Daniels have, perhaps, underachieved in the league this season but, led by former Corby Town boss Graham Drury, they did enjoy a fine run in the FA Cup which included a first-round replay victory at Vanarama National League side Wrexham.
Stamford are currently closer to the relegation zone than the play-off places but Peaks isn’t fooled by that and he knows his team are in for a tough examination.
“I have watched Stamford a couple of times and they are a dangerous side,” the Diamonds boss said.
“If there is one team that is in a false position, it is them because they have a lot of good players and should be doing better than they are.
“It’s going to be a massive game and coming to our ground in front of what should hopefully be a big crowd certainly won’t faze them.
“They played and beat some big clubs during their FA Cup run so they won’t fear coming to play us.
“We are in good form but we need to improve at home and there’s no better time to try to do that than in a derby game on Boxing Day.
“But we aren’t taking anything for granted, we know it will be a tough game.”
Diamonds should have Tom Lorraine available again after the frontman missed the win at Lincoln United due to work commitments.
And Peaks also delivered an update on midfielder Ross Oulton and defender Jack Ashton, who are both recovering from knee injuries.
“They are both coming along really well,” Peaks added.
“I am hopeful that we will see both of them back in the shirt during January and when that happens, it will be a massive boost to the squad.”
Diamonds’ game is followed by two away matches in a row over the remainder of the festive period.
They travel to Chasetown on Thursday night before the first game of 2017 sees them head to Bedworth United next on Monday (January 2, 3pm).