Andy Peaks has urged his AFC Rushden & Diamonds to embrace their return to action when they take on Pitching In Southern League Premier Central rivals Peterborough Sports in the first round of the Buildbase FA Trophy tonight (Tuesday).
Diamonds haven’t played since losing 4-1 at Coalville Town just before the national lockdown on October 24.
And the harsh reality is that whoever loses tonight’s tie is set for a further spell of inactivity with Step 3 and 4 football continuing to be paused following a vote by clubs in the Trident Leagues (Southern League, Northern Premier League and Isthmian League) last week.
The winners of this evening’s clash at Hayden Road will go on to play in the second round of the Trophy next Tuesday night.
Peaks admitted his team’s preparation “hasn’t been ideal” after a proposed friendly with Kempston Rovers was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch while Sports have managed to squeeze in two friendlies over the past week.
But the Diamonds boss said: “We are really looking forward to it because we haven’t had a game in such a long while.
“We are up against a really good team who have had a couple of practice matches and we haven’t managed to get one in so our preparation hasn’t been ideal.
“But I want the lads to embrace it. It’s just good to get a game of football and who knows when the next one will be if we don’t win?
“We will certainly give it our best shot. We will have pretty much a full-strength squad to choose from. Everyone has had a good rest and I will be expecting a good performance.”
The only definite absentee for Diamonds will be defender Jack Ashton who serves the last of a three-match suspension.