'Exciting times' as AFC Rushden & Diamonds continue the play-off push

AFC Rushden & Diamonds head to Redditch United this weekend with Andy Burgess insisting it is a “massively exciting time” for the club.

By Jon Dunham
Friday, 25th March 2022, 7:30 am
Updated Friday, 25th March 2022, 7:32 am
Nathan Tshikuna in action for AFC Rushden & Diamonds during their 2-2 draw with Tamworth last weekend. Picture courtesy of Hawkins Images
Nathan Tshikuna in action for AFC Rushden & Diamonds during their 2-2 draw with Tamworth last weekend. Picture courtesy of Hawkins Images

There’s seven games to go in the regular Southern League Premier Central campaign with Diamonds holding a four-point advantage over sixth-placed Alvechurch as they look to secure a top-five finish and a spot in the play-offs.

The clash at Redditch is followed by a game in hand at Biggleswade Town next Tuesday night as Diamonds look to tighten their grip on fifth place.

Interim boss Burgess was left slightly frustrated after his team let a 2-0 lead slip against Tamworth at Hayden Road last Saturday as the visitors, led by former Diamonds manager Andy Peaks, battled back to earn a 2-2 draw.

However, with Alvechurch only drawing 1-1 at Needham Market, it meant the four-point gap was maintained.

And Burgess insists his team can head to Redditch “full of confidence”.

“We have a week where we can look at things and work on things,” he said.

“There were lots of positives last weekend, even though we were disappointed we didn’t win the game. It’s another game down and, who knows? It could be the point that takes us where we want to be.

“We will take those positives and we should be going to Redditch full of confidence.

“We are fifth in the league, we have loads to play for and it’s a massively exciting time to be at this football club.

“We want to finish the season strongly and we will look forward to Saturday and we will be looking for three points.”

Diamonds were cheered on by the third-highest home crowd of the season last weekend.

And Burgess is hoping that support continues and grows during the remainder of the campaign as his team bid to wrap up a top-five finish.

“I said to the players before the game last week that I wanted them to get the fans with us,” he added.

“They can be huge for us in the remainder of the season, that noise is massive for us and I was just disappointed we couldn’t give them a win to really sing about.

“Hopefully they keep coming out for the rest of the season and see we are trying to be successful.”

Diamonds boosted their ranks this week with the arrival of Milton Keynes Dons winger Lewis Johnson on a loan deal until the end of the season while under-21 player Nigel Chikamba has signed Southern League forms.