Ambitions are clear as Diamonds begin their preparations

Matt Gearing is one of a number of players who will be staying on at AFC Rushden & Diamonds for next season
Matt Gearing is one of a number of players who will be staying on at AFC Rushden & Diamonds for next season

AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks says this week’s signings “show the club’s ambition.”

Diamonds kick of the new season in the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central on Saturday, August 8 and Peaks this week announced he’s kept the core of the side that took them up to Step Four by winning the UCL Premier Division.

Of the championship-winning squad, only Russ Dunkley and Jason Turner have so far left the Dog & Duck while Joe Merrill and Matt Gearing were added to the retained list after the initial announcement had been made.

Peaks also confirmed the signings of defender Ollie Wilkinson, midfielder Dan Quigley and Dom Lawless, who last season netted 34 goals for Newport Pagnell Town.

Lawless joins a Diamonds side that scored 121 goals on their way to winning the title last season.

And Peaks said: “You can’t have enough strikers.

“I nearly signed Dom a couple of years ago and for one reason or another, it didn’t happen then. I’m pleased with finally got him.

“The squad was quite thin by the end of last season and I needed a few new faces to strengthen and freshen things up.

“We also wanted to show the fans how keen we are to move on next season.

“These signings show the ambition of the club. I’m really pleased with them.”

Peaks also hopes ex-Cobblers and Corby forward Courtney Herbert and Jason Kilbride will join the squad after offering both of them trials.

Herbert ended last season at Cogenhoe United.

Peaks added: “He’s found it a bit hard to get back after leaving Northampton and maybe fell out of love with the game a bit.

“I think he wants a new challenge.

“Courtney is quick, strikes a good ball and we want to have a look at him and see what we can get out of him.”

Peaks also hopes Kilbride will decide his future is at the Dog & Duck after spending last season with Peterborough Northern Star.

The Diamonds boss admitted he’s been tracking the attacking midfielder and said: “He lives in the Peterborough area, so he’s not sure about the travelling.

“But he’s going to come and have a look at us and we will take things from there.”

Diamonds retained list: Matt Finlay, Sam Brown, Charlie Butt, Liam Dolman, Jack Ashton, Jake Gillingwater, Brad Harris, Adam Confue, Richard Bunting, Declan Rogers, Elliott Lamb-Johnson, Tommy Berwick, Tom Lorraine, Joe Merrill, Matt Gearing.

New signings: Ollie Wilkinson, Dan Quigley, Dom Lawless.