Diamonds have some momentum for Sporting encounter

Jack Bowen shows his delight after he scored AFC Rushden & Diamonds' opening goal in the 3-2 win over Corby Town in the Southern League Challenge Cup on Tuesday night. Pictures courtesy of HawkinsImages
Jack Bowen shows his delight after he scored AFC Rushden & Diamonds' opening goal in the 3-2 win over Corby Town in the Southern League Challenge Cup on Tuesday night. Pictures courtesy of HawkinsImages

Andy Peaks believes AFC Rushden & Diamonds are heading into their home clash with Bromsgrove Sporting tomorrow (Saturday) with a bit of momentum behind them.

Diamonds’ last four BetVictor Southern League Premier Central matches have all ended in 1-1 draws but they got back on the winning trail in midweek as they beat local rivals Corby Town 3-2 in the first round of the League Challenge Cup at Hayden Road.

Jesse Akubuine is mobbed by his team-mates after his fine free-kick put Diamonds 2-0 against Corby

Jesse Akubuine is mobbed by his team-mates after his fine free-kick put Diamonds 2-0 against Corby

And while Peaks, whose team sit in sixth place in the table with just one defeat to their name in nine outings, knows the league is of much greater importance, he believes the Challenge Cup win will have given his players a welcome boost ahead of a tricky test against newly-promoted Bromsgrove.

The Diamonds boss said: “The Challenge Cup is a nice distraction because it gives you that chance to mix things up and get people minutes. It’s better than training.

“Tomorrow is much more important, we know that. But we are going into it with a bit of momentum with that win behind us.

“We have played well in the last three or four games without winning any. I know there have been some good points on the road and one at home to a decent Royston team.

“But you want to be winning games of football and we did that on Tuesday night.

“It’s going to be another tough test this weekend. Bromsgrove are a good, established club and they had a great run to get promoted last season.

“They have had a few good results and a few not so good. They are probably still finding their feet a bit but they have a lot of good players and we know we will have to play well to beat them.”

The most pleasing thing for Peaks in midweek was the way a number of young players performed when given their chance.

The likes of Matty Slinn, Patrick Casey and Jesse Akubuine really caught the eye while 17-year-old Rhys Kelly and 16-year-old Will Jones both came off the bench to get a taste of first-team action.

“It’s great for the club,” Peaks added.

“We had some young lads playing last Saturday (in the 1-1 draw at Hednesford) and we added to that with Will Jones coming on and he is not even 17 yet.

“He has been with me a long while so it was nice to see him get on. He will be plenty good enough.

“And Rhys Kelly is another youngster who has waited for his chance and he got some minutes out there as well.

“We talk about Matty Slinn as being a bit more experience but he is only 18 as well.

“We had some good, young players out there and it’s great to see.”

Diamonds, meanwhile, confirmed this week that striker Massiah McDonald had left the club to join Ilkeston Town while the likes of Liam Dolman, Ben Farrell and Sam Johnson still remain on the treatment table at Hayden Road ahead of this weekend’s clash.

And that may mean some of the youngsters being called upon for league duty.

“Massiah came in and it didn’t quite happen for him for various reasons,” Peaks added.

“But he goes with my best wishes. He is a decent guy.

“It gives us another chance to maybe bring someone in or promote from within."