FA Cup woes can be banished with league success

AFC Rushden & Diamonds turn their attention to league success after bowing out of the FA Cup
AFC Rushden & Diamonds turn their attention to league success after bowing out of the FA Cup

Claudiu Hoban was quick to focus on the bigger picture following AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ midweek disappointment in the FA Cup.

Diamonds’ hopes of reaching the first round proper were ended when they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Barwell in front of over 1,000 fans on Tuesday night.

But there’s little time for Andy Peaks’ men to dwell on the loss as they resume their Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central campaign on Saturday.

Diamonds remain unbeaten in the league this season and will put that record on the line again when they head to Barton Rovers.

And winger Hoban, who has been one of the stars of the campaign so far, insists he and his team-mates will be doing all they can to put their FA Cup disappointment behind them as quickly as possible.

He said: “Everyone was disappointed on Tuesday. We worked hard but we didn’t have enough quality to score a goal.

“We felt like we were better in the second half but they came with a gameplan and fought for every ball.

“But our minds are on the league now. The FA Cup was a good distraction to have but now we can focus fully on the league and take every game step-by-step.

“We know we have the players to go and win this league. Hopefully we can go there on Saturday, get the win and put the disappointment from Tuesday behind us.”

Hoban was rewarded for a string of impressive displays this season with a contract, which will keep him at the Dog & Duck for the remainder of the current campaign while Diamonds have an option to extend it for a further year.

And the winger, who has recently returned from a knee injury, says he is enjoying his stint with the club.

“I have enjoyed every minute since I have been here,” he added.

“And when you enjoy your football, that’s when you do well.

“I was injured for two or three weeks and my match fitness isn’t completely there at the moment.

“I only came back for the last two games but the fitness will come with more matches.”