A ‘massive’ encounter awaits for Diamonds

Andy Peaks
Andy Peaks

No titles will be won or lost and no trophies handed out this weekend.

However, it does not take much to work out the significance of AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ encounter with Kings Langley.

Both sides collected victories in midweek to maintain the four-point gap between them.

Diamonds sit top of Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central on 64 points.

Their visitors on Saturday may trail, but do have a game in hand.

It could well be a season-defining game for both sides – not that you would ever get Diamonds boss Andy Peaks to admit as much.

“There are another three points available and the more of those we take, the closer we get to winning the league,” he said.

“Each win takes us further away but the games are coming thick and fast.

“I never celebrate too much if we win and I’m the same if we lose – I don’t get too down.

“If we win on Saturday, I will then start thinking about Potters Bar the following weekend.

“But first we have to win this game. And we know Kings Langley are a very good side.

“We’ve already played them twice this season so we are aware we’re not going to have an easy time.

“They have surprised a few people by how well they have done, but not me.

“They are on a great run of form and will give us a really tough match.

“They are young, they have terrific energy, come with a good gameplan and are strong in all areas.

“That said, we always believe that if we play to our strengths we are more than a match for anyone.”

While Peaks refuses to look too far ahead, he does accept the game’s importance.

“Of course it is a massive match for both sides,” he conceded.

“It is only three points but they do become that little bit more important when you are playing sides around you.

“The more points we pick up, the more pressure it puts on everyone else.

“But we’ll need to be on our game.

“It would be great if we could get a good crowd in to help us make the most of home advantage.

“I haven’t said it for a while, but they are our 12th man when they get behind us.

“Hopefully a game like this will bring them in because it does make a difference.

“It’s certainly helped us over the last three or four years. I know it gives me a lift so it must do the same for the players.”

Peaks will have Ollie Wilkinson available again for the weekend’s crunch clash but – although they are getting closer to full fitness – Richard Bunting, Nabil Shariff and Tom Liversedge are still not ready for first-team action.