AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ preparations for the 2020-21 campaign are now in full swing after Andy Peaks confirmed his retained list.
Peaks has managed to keep the vast majority of the squad from the last Southern League Premier Central season, including the likes of long-serving players Sam Brown, Liam Dolman and Tom Lorraine.
A total of 18 players have committed to the club for next season, although one significant name missing from the list is midfielder Nathan Hicks.
Nonetheless, boss Peaks is pleased with his work so far and confirmed he is “in discussions” with a couple of other players ahead of proposed moves to Hayden Road.
At present, there is no confirmed start date for next season.
And the Diamonds boss said: “I’m really pleased that the majority of the squad from last season have agreed to say.
“I am in discussions with a couple of other players and we will announce these as and when.
“It’s obviously a difficult time for everyone with no updates on when the season could start at this stage.
“I’m sure, like the players and myself, the supporters can’t wait to get football back and we all hope it will be sooner rather than later.”
The following players have committed to Diamonds for the 2020-21 season: Zack Reynolds, Sam Brown, Jack Ashton, Liam Dolman, Alex Collard, Ben Acquaye, Ben Farrell, Tom Lorraine, Ryan Dove, Ben Heath, Nabil Shariff, Patrick Casey, Nat Gosnal-Tyler, Jesse Akubine, Matthew Slinn, Will Jones, Joel Gyasi, Luke Monroe.
Diamonds, meanwhile, have received another big financial boost.
The club have been successful in their application to East Northamptonshire Council (ENC) for a Discretionary Grant ‘to cover the adverse financial impacts of Covid-19’.
Diamonds have been awarded a grant of £10,000, which comes after they received the same amount in National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund.
Diamonds chairman Ralph Burditt said: “On behalf of the board, members, supporters, players, and everyone connected with the club, I would like to thank ENC for their generous support and the speed in which they evaluated and responded to our application.
“It is worth remembering the ENC team will, no doubt, have been extremely busy over recent weeks, so to be able to inform us within a few days is very welcome.
“The grant will make our plans for the new season and for delivering against the club’s community-centric objectives more achievable.”
ENC leader Steven North added: “As a council, we have a responsibility to help those businesses in need across the district and everyone at ENC is working hard to ensure that businesses get the advice and financial support they need especially at this difficult time.”