Diamonds must 'step things up' for Beaconsfield

Defender Jack Ashton (left), pictured with Liam Dolman during pre-season, has resumed light training as he continues his comeback from a knee injury
Defender Jack Ashton (left), pictured with Liam Dolman during pre-season, has resumed light training as he continues his comeback from a knee injury

Andy Peaks insists AFC Rushden & Diamonds will have to “step things up a level” when they resume their Evo-Stik South League East campaign at Hayden Road this weekend.

Diamonds’ fine start to the new season continued in the Emirates FA Cup as in-form frontman Nabil Shariff hit a hat-trick to help them come from behind twice to win 3-2 at Tividale in the first qualifying round last Saturday.

That earned them a tough trip to Alfreton Town next weekend but first they must look to keep up their unbeaten start in the league when they host Beaconsfield Town tomorrow (Saturday).

Diamonds will start the day on top of the early standings and Peaks is hoping they can build on the two wins that have already been secured in their new home.

“It’s a tough game,” he said.

“I have watched them and had a report on them and they have some decent players.

“We will definitely have to step things up a level from last weekend.

“It’s great to have the side attraction of the FA Cup but it can mean that you fall behind on league matches so when you play them, it’s important to pick up points.

“We are at home, we are loving it at Hayden Road and we have produced a couple of good performances so far.

“We have been pleased with the numbers that have come out to watch us and hopefully we can continue to play well and attract new people to the games.”

Peaks, meanwhile, was able to deliver an encouraging update on the walking wounded in his Diamonds squad.

Both Richard Bunting (tendonitis) and Tom Lorraine (eye) have been back in training while Luke Fairlamb (hamstring) is also close to a return.

And there was also positive news on long-term absentees Ross Oulton and Jack Ashton, who have both been victims of knee injuries.

“Bunts (Bunting) is back involved and he was training again this week so he is in and around things,” Peaks added.

“We have had some good news on Tom Lorraine with his eye injury and that has settled down really well.

“There was a fear he could lose some sight in the eye but thankfully that isn’t the case and it’s great to have him in training again.

“Luke isn’t a million miles away either. He tweaked his hamstring in the game at Thame so we have been wrapping him up in cotton wool.

“We also have better news on Ross Oulton because his knee injury isn’t as bad as first feared and Jack Ashton has been back doing some light stuff in training.

“It’s all good news so hopefully within the next four or five weeks, we should have a strong squad to choose from.”