Law and Peaks relishing derby clashes

Kettering Town and AFC Rushden & Diamonds met in two cup competitions last season but will be in the same league as each other in the next campaign
Kettering Town and AFC Rushden & Diamonds met in two cup competitions last season but will be in the same league as each other in the next campaign

Kettering Town and AFC Rushden & Diamonds are set to collide in the league next season.

The clubs were both placed in the new Evo-Stik Southern League Central division when the Football Association confirmed the allocations for Steps One to Four last week.

Diamonds were promoted from the Evo-Stik South League East last season while the Poppies missed out in the Premier play-offs, an equation which has now led to them being league rivals for the new campaign in August.

Poppies boss Marcus Law said: “Those two games, because of the added intensity, will become cup finals within a league season and that always makes them tricky.

“The games will be great for the local area and the fans of both clubs when they come around.

“But, for me, there will be 40 other matches that I will be looking to get as many points from as well.

“It won’t just be about two games.

“It looks like an interesting division and there are certainly some familiar clubs in there for me from my way

up in the game from the Midland Alliance to where we are now.

“The major positive is that the travelling time will be reduced, there should be four less midweek matches and we won’t have to make long journeys like Tiverton Town and Gosport Borough on a Tuesday night.”

Diamonds boss Andy Peaks added: “For us, it is quite exciting and it is certainly going to be a challenge.

“I think this is the biggest step up the club has taken since it was formed.

“It will be a fresh challenge, I don’t think there will be as much pressure on us and we are looking forward to it.

“As far as the Kettering games are concerned, they will be the biggest matches in the local area for a long time.

“We have met in the cups in recent seasons but these will certainly be a lot bigger than those and I am sure fans from both clubs will look forward to them."