Liam Dolman believes AFC Rushden & Diamonds have a chance to “make a statement” at the Dog & Duck on Saturday.
Diamonds remain unbeaten in all competitions so far this season but that record will face a stern test when the Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central leaders entertain third-placed Aylesbury at the weekend.
Aylesbury finished third in the table last season and look set to be amongst the frontrunners again if the early indications are anything to go by.
With that in mind, central defender Dolman, whose stoppage-time penalty to seal a 2-1 victory over Aylesbury United started Diamonds’ current six-game winning streak, knows an opportunity to send a message to the rest of the division has arrived.
“It’s a really big test for us,” Dolman said.
“But we are playing with confidence and we fancy ourselves against anyone.
“Aylesbury were one of the best teams in the division last season and they have started well again.
“So if we can get the three points then I think it will send a bit of a statement out to the rest of the league.
“I think we have reacted very well after we were disappointed to draw the first three games.
“The big thing for us is to try to start games well.
“We didn’t do that at North Greenford and got a bit of a telling off for it at half-time so the lads got together and produced a better performance to get us the win.
“But we know we can’t afford to start like that, especially against a good team like the one we are playing on Saturday.”
Diamonds are yet to taste defeat this season and that record stayed intact after they claimed a 2-1 success at Bedfont & Feltham in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup last weekend.
They will head to ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division side Deeping Rangers in the second qualifying stage next weekend after they beat Leek Town 4-2 in a replay on Tuesday night.
And Dolman insists the cup is a welcome distraction from the pressures of the league.
“It was always going to be a bit of a banana skin and we should have been out of sight in the first half but didn’t take our chances,” he added.
“We let them back in with a goal before half-time but I thought we controlled things in the second half and did a professional job.
“Every player wants to do well in the FA Cup and when you are a non-League club, you want to go as far as possible. It’s nice to have that distraction from the league.
“It won’t be easy going away from home again and we know Deeping from last season. We look forward to it.”