Excitement is building for Diamonds' next step

Ben Diamonds was on target in AFC Rushden & Diamonds' 2-0 victory at Kempston Rovers in their penultimate pre-season friendly
Ben Diamonds was on target in AFC Rushden & Diamonds' 2-0 victory at Kempston Rovers in their penultimate pre-season friendly

There is “anticipation and excitement” building as AFC Rushden & Diamonds begin their final preparations for the step up to a higher level.

Andy Peaks’ team will play at Step 3 for the first time since the club was formed following their promotion-winning campaign last season.

Diamonds play their final pre-season friendly of the summer at Bishop’s Stortford tomorrow (Saturday) and then all eyes will be on their opening game of the Evo-Stik South League Premier Division Central campaign when they take on Redditch United at Hayden Road next weekend.

And while Peaks believes his team will be heading into the unknown, he is already looking forward to the build-up to the opening day.

“I think there is a lot of anticipation and excitement around the place, we are all looking forward to the start of the season now,” the Diamonds boss said.

“You want to get the last friendly out of the way and then we will be ready for two good training sessions next week which will focus more on the tactical side of things.

“And once they are done, we can really look forward to that first game.

“I think going into this league will be like going into the unknown for a lot of us.

“We will be up against some big names and big clubs and there will have to be less expectation on us. It’s a nice scenario to be honest.”

Late goals from trialist Ty Ward and Ben Diamond gave Diamonds a 2-0 success at Kempston Rovers in their latest friendly outing on Tuesday night, although that came on the back of home losses to Brackley Town and Enfield Town.

And, with one more game to come against a team from the same level this weekend, Peaks believes the structure of his team’s pre-season has been just about right.

“I have learned a lot from the last two or three friendlies, some negatives and some positives,” he added.

“But overall, I have been pleased with the way things have gone. We wanted to get the structure of our pre-season right and we have been building things up gradually.

“We aren’t a million miles away from where we want to be and our last friendly is against a team from the same level so it will be a good yardstick for us.”