Diamonds geared up for difficult test at unbeaten Anstey Nomads

​AFC Rushden & Diamonds assistant manager Tom Lorraine is relishing this weekend’s clash against high flying Anstey Nomads.
AFC Rushden & Diamonds assistant manager Tom Lorraine (Picture: Shaun Frankham)AFC Rushden & Diamonds assistant manager Tom Lorraine (Picture: Shaun Frankham)
AFC Rushden & Diamonds assistant manager Tom Lorraine (Picture: Shaun Frankham)

The Diamonds were all geared up for a second successive relegation six-pointer last Saturday, but the big clash against Boldmere St Michael’s was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Hayden Road.

So now, after a free week, Diamonds will travel to Anstey on Saturday to play the only remaining unbeaten team in Pitching-In Northern Premier League Midlands Division.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Newly promoted Nomads currently lie in fourth place in the table. four points behind leaders Loughborough Dynamo, but they also have two games in hand.

Two goals from leading scorer Luis Rose enabled the north Leicestershire side to preserve their unbeaten record last weekend, after they came back from 2-0 down to draw at a Coventry Sphinx side currently fifth bottom.

Former Rushden player Andy Kanga Mandjoba is currently in Anstey’s ranks.

In their 11 league matches to date, they have won six and drawn five, while they have won four out of six of their home encounters so far.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Diamonds have no current injury problems, but player-boss Michael Harriman is still looking to recruit some new experienced players, particularly for the spine of the team – namely the centre of defence, central midfield and up front.

Striker Dylan Edge is still unavailable for the Diamonds, while a seven-day enquiry for an experienced central defender has yet to yield a response.

Assistant boss Lorraine is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about his side’s chances on Saturday, even though on paper it looks like a testing enounter.

"We’ve trained well and see no reason to worry about anybody in this division,” said Lorraine.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We will just concentrate on our own game and will travel there with confidence.

"Anstey drew with one of the struggling teams last weekend, so I see no reason to be too concerned.”

As they were without a game last weekend, Diamonds remained bottom, and they are now six points adrift of safety.

That is because Rugby Town pulled off a shock 3-0 win at play-off contenders Bedworth United, the Valley taking a 3-0 first-half lead and then seeing the match out.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was Rugby’s first win in eight matches and lifted them out of the bottom two, leaving Boldmere St Michaels to join Rushden in the relegation zone.

So Diamonds are six points shy of Rugby but they do have a game in hand, and there are still with plenty of points to play for, especially between now and Christmas.

It is likely that Diamonds’ travelling fans will outnumber those supporting their opponents on home soil on Saturday. That should provide a favourable atmosphere at Cropston Road for the Diamonds players, but make no mistake this looks like a tough game.

After Saturday’s league encounter, Diamonds are back at Hayden Road in cup action next Tuesday night when they host Northampton Town Under-18s in the quarter-finals of the NFA Senior Cup.

The other matches in the last eight see Kettering Town host Corby Town, Desborough Town entertain Peterborough United U21s and Wellingborough Town host Peterborough Sports.