A big game is just what Diamonds need

This was the snowy scene at Hayden Road last night (Wednesday), captured by AFC Rushden & Diamonds' CCTV cameras at the ground
This was the snowy scene at Hayden Road last night (Wednesday), captured by AFC Rushden & Diamonds' CCTV cameras at the ground

Liam Dolman believes a big game against Hayes & Yeading United would be the perfect stage for AFC Rushden & Diamonds to try to bounce back on at the weekend.

Diamonds saw their 17-match unbeaten run in the Evo-Stik South League East ended in a surprised 2-1 defeat at Egham Town last Saturday.

Andy Peaks’ team remain on top of the table heading into their showdown with fifth-placed Hayes, who claimed a 1-0 victory over Diamonds before they went on that long, undefeated run.

Saturday’s clash at Hayden Road will, like every other game in the local area, already be in doubt following the arrival of the freezing conditions this week.

But Diamonds captain Dolman is hoping they will find a way to get the game on so that the players have the chance to make an immediate return to winning ways.

“We can’t do anything about the weather but after Saturday’s performance and result, we all agreed that this weekend’s game against a tough opponent would be perfect for us,” he said.

“We know we didn’t play well last week but there is no point dwelling on it.

“It was one bad performance in the last 18 matches.

“We had a tough training session on Tuesday night, the whole squad managed to make it there.

“We are still in good spirits and we are still in the position we want to be in.

“It was unrealistic for anyone to think that we would just stay unbeaten and, if the weather holds, we will be looking to bounce back in the right way.

“And if we aren’t able to play then we will be ready for the next game after that.

“There is no point worrying about the weather.

“I think we only have three more midweek matches in our schedule so there is plenty of time to fit games in without there being a huge backlog.

“And even if the matches did build up, we have a good squad of players who can deal with that.”

March could prove to be the pivotal month in Diamonds’ bid to secure one of the two automatic promotion places.

They are scheduled to play eight matches with this weekend’s game being followed by another home clash with Thame United next Tuesday night while big encounters with the likes of fellow high-fliers Beaconsfield Town, Hartley Wintney and AFC Dunstable await in the upcoming weeks.

And the Diamonds skipper added: “It’s a massive month.

“At the back end of it, we have some very big matches against the teams at the top but we know we can go and get maximum points against anyone in this division if we play to our full capabilities.

“But we will just take it each game as it comes and try to to keep picking up the wins.”