Diamonds boss Peaks looks forward to ‘exciting time’

Andy Peaks believes AFC Rushden & Diamonds are heading into an 'exciting time' next season
Andy Peaks believes AFC Rushden & Diamonds are heading into an 'exciting time' next season

Andy Peaks believes “exciting times” lie ahead for AFC Rushden & Diamonds as they come to terms with another heartbreaking finish to a season.

Diamonds’ Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South campaign came to a close on Tuesday night as they went down 1-0 at Witton Albion in the play-off semi-final.

Rob Hopley scored the only goal of the game nine minutes into the second half and Diamonds were unable to find a way back, especially after Dan Quigley was red-carded for an ugly lunge on Steve Tames just past the hour.

It made it another year of disappointment in the play-offs after Diamonds lost in last season’s Southern League Division One Central final.

However, despite the disappointment, boss Peaks is already looking ahead.

Diamonds will begin next season, which could yet see them back in the Southern League, at Kempston Rovers’ Hillgrounds stadium after leaving the Dog & Duck ahead of a proposed move to groundshare with Rushden & Higham United at Hayden Road.

Peaks admitted he will now take a “bit of time out” before turning his attention to next season.

“We will take a bit of time out and then we will have a chat with the board,” the Diamonds boss said.

“We obviously need to know what league we are going to be in and then we can look at what our ambitions are.

“I will speak to the players and look to build for next season and see if we can go a step further.

“The club is still young and we have come a long way. We can be proud of what we have achieved in a short space of time.

“We have got an exciting time next season with moving grounds and I hope that will galvanise the fans.

“If we turn in good performances and pick up a lot of points then I am sure a lot of people will come and see us at Hayden Road and hopefully it will help take the club on another level.”

Peaks, meanwhile, was able to reflect on a “real effort” from his players on Tuesday night.

And he believes that was appreciated by the healthy travelling army of around 150 fans at Wincham Park.

“I have been pleased overall, to get into the play-offs was always an aim,” he added.

“I thought we put a real effort in and I think the fans appreciated what we gave them.

“They were singing at the end because they saw how much effort and commitment the players put in.

“I said before the game that if we got beaten by a better team and the players gave me everything they got then I would buy off on it and I think that’s what we got.”