Home joy is needed as Diamonds head for a nerve-jangling finale
Andy Peaks is seeking some home comfort as AFC Rushden & Diamonds' season heads for a nerve-jangling finale.
Having looked like serious contenders for the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central title less than two months ago, Diamonds are now facing a battle to hold on to a play-off place.
Peaks’ side finally ended a run of five games without a win as Tom Lorraine’s goal earned them a 1-0 success at Leighton Town last weekend.
But the chance to build on that was missed in midweek as Arlesey Town fought back from a goal down, scored by Elliot Sandy, to claim a 2-1 victory.
It has left Diamonds in fifth place – the final play-off position – on goal difference from Chalfont St Peter while Aylesbury also have the games in hand to overtake them.
But Peaks’ belief in what his squad is capable of is not wavering and, with a clash against Hanwell Town at the Dog & Duck tomorrow (Saturday) being quickly followed by another home game with Barton Rovers on Tuesday, the manager won’t accept his players feeling sorry for themselves.
Peaks said: “We are the only ones who can put it right and we will go again and look for three points on Saturday.
“That’s the way we have to be.
“I am disappointed with what has happened in the last month, of course I am.
“But we now have two home games and it is massively important that we win both of them.
“As quickly as football can turn one way, it can turn another and we have to make sure we turn things around, starting on Saturday.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves.
“I still believe in the players and I still believe we can finish the season well and in a position that we targeted from the start.
“We will be staying positive and we have to two home matches to put it right.”
Peaks was left frustrated by Tuesday’s loss at Arlesey as his team missed a number of chances, particularly, in the first half to put the result beyond doubt.
And the Diamonds boss knows his players must start converting their opportunities if they are to secure a play-off place.
“We need every player to put a shift in,” he added.
“But what we must really focus on is taking a higher percentage of our chances.
“If we had taken more of our opportunities during this disappointing spell we have had then we would be looking at a completely different scenario.”