Diamonds to step things up after a good start

Andy Peaks has been happy with the way AFC Rushden & Diamonds have started their pre-season programme
Andy Peaks has been happy with the way AFC Rushden & Diamonds have started their pre-season programme

Andy Peaks has declared himself “pretty pleased” with the early stages of AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ build-up to the new season.

Diamonds are preparing for life at a higher level in the Evo-Stik South League Premier Division Central following their promotion-winning campaign last time out.

They kicked off their friendly schedule with a 3-0 success at Newport Pagnell Town and followed that up with a 3-1 victory at Melton Town on Tuesday night.

Diamonds are now gearing up for three Hayden Road friendlies in a row as they take on ground-sharing neighbours Rushden & Higham United in the annual Chris Ruff Memorial Cup match tomorrow (Saturday) before Brackley Town visit on Tuesday night. They will then take on Enfield Town a week tomorrow.

And Peaks is looking forward to seeing his squad step things up.

“I have been pretty pleased with what we have done so far,” the Diamonds boss said.

“We have managed to get a lot of players on the pitch and we have played quite well in two games that everyone would expect us to win.

“But we have looked good defensively and we have got the strikers scoring goals.

“There are going to be tougher games but we will get more minutes into everyone on Saturday and then we will look to push a few on in what we will be good test against Brackley on Tuesday.

“But overall, I am happy with how it has gone so far.”

Peaks, meanwhile, believes there is a “good chance” Nathan Hicks will sign for Diamonds for the new season.

The former Kettering Town midfielder scored in Friday’s win at Newport Pagnell and featured again in midweek.

He played at Step 3 with Biggleswade Town last season and Peaks added: “I think there is a good chance Nathan will be with us.

“He has fitted into things well so far. He already knew a lot of the boys, which helped.

“He is a good player who has been at the level we are going into. He’s a good footballer and that’s what I want here."