Diamonds' perfect start is set for a severe test

AFC Rushden & Diamonds celebrate Alex Collard's goal during the 5-1 win over Leiston in midweek. Picture courtesy of HawkinsImages
AFC Rushden & Diamonds celebrate Alex Collard's goal during the 5-1 win over Leiston in midweek. Picture courtesy of HawkinsImages

Andy Peaks knows AFC Rushden & Diamonds will have to come through their toughest test so far if they are to maintain their 100 per cent start to the new season this weekend.

It’s been a fine first few days of the BetVictor Southern League Premier Division Central campaign for Diamonds.
They opened up with a 2-0 victory at Barwell last Saturday thanks to goals from captain Liam Dolman and fellow defender Jack Ashton.
And things got even better in midweek as Diamonds made it two wins out of two with a 5-1 hammering of Leiston with Tom Lorraine scoring twice while Alex Collard, Ben Acquaye and Nathan Hicks were also on target.
It’s a start that has left boss Peaks extremely pleased.
But an intriguing test now lies ahead as Diamonds take on Nuneaton Borough at Hayden Road tomorrow (Saturday).
Nuneaton are highly fancied to challenge for the title this season following a busy summer in the transfer market.
However, Jimmy Ginnelly’s team started with a shock 3-0 home defeat to Kings Langley before being held to a 1-1 draw at Banbury United on Tuesday night.
“There’s no doubt about it, it will definitely be our biggest test so far,” Diamonds boss Peaks said.
“I think it’s been well documented that they have brought a lot of very good players in over the summer.
“It might not have gelled for them just yet. But it will. I know Jimmy well and it won’t be long before they are winning games on a regular basis.
“I am just really pleased that we are going into it on the back of two wins.
“We can certainly go into the game with no fear and we can look forward to testing ourselves against a big non-League club.”
Peaks is also set to have competition for places from now on with the likes of Joe Curtis, Ben Farrell and Sam Johnson becoming available after missing the opening week of the season.
The Diamonds boss added: “We have got the likes of Joe, Ben and Sam available again now so it’s almost an embarrassment of riches for me!
“In all seriousness, I really want as much competition for places as possible. These are good players who are coming back into the fold.
“And that competition will help to keep everyone on their toes."