Expectations are high as Diamonds bid to keep the run going
Andy Peaks knows the pressure and expectation will be on AFC Rushden & Diamonds when they make the short trip to Rugby Town tonight (Tuesday).
Diamonds’ charge up the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South continued on Saturday as two goals from Nabil Shariff and one from Nic Evangelinos secured an impressive 3-2 victory at Stocksbridge Park Steels.
That came after a fine 2-1 success at Spalding United this time last week as Diamonds scored twice in the last 10 minutes, despite being down to 10 men at the time.
It means Peaks’ team are now unbeaten in 10 league matches and up to eighth in the table.
And they will be hot favourites to extend that run tonight when they face rock-bottom Rugby who have just one win to their name so far this season.
But the Diamonds boss is taking nothing for granted and he insists his team’s attitude will be key.
He said: “We had a chat after the game on Saturday and we know we are now going into a game that everyone will expect us to win. It’s another huge one for us.
“The past two matches have been tough and we have come through them. It was a great week. But we know we have to go and do it again tonight.
“People will look at it and see that we are doing well and Rugby are struggling and they’ll think that if we don’t get three points then it will be a massive disappointment.
“We have to go with the right attitude. It won’t be easy. It’s a local game and Rugby will be desperate to bounce back against us.”
Peaks was delighted with the win at Stocksbridge as his players came through what he described as “a test of character”.
“It was a really good win at the weekend,” he added.
“To be honest, the past couple of games have been a real test of character for us.
“We had to fight back with 10 men at Spalding and then, on Saturday, Stocksbridge were a really good team.
“There were spells when they were a lot better than us and we had to hang in there and make sure we didn’t cave in. To come back from conceding an equaliser and then go and get a winner was great.”
Diamonds will be without defender Rory Winters who begins a suspension following his sending-off in last Tuesday’s win at Spalding.
But Peaks expects to have one of Sam Brown or Jason Lee available again to fill that void while Lewis Leslie will also be back in the squad after continuing his comeback from injury with a couple of games for UCL Premier Division side Sileby Rangers.