Andy Peaks believes there is a “buzz” around the AFC Rushden & Diamonds squad as they bid to move a step closer to promotion tonight (Tuesday).
Diamonds travel to Witton Albion for the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South play-off semi-final with the winners going on to face either Spalding United or Stocksbridge Park Steels in Saturday’s final.
Diamonds will start as the underdogs as they take on a Witton team who finished the season as runners-up and 25 points clear of Peaks’ team, who have already lost to them twice in the regular league campaign.
But it now comes down to a one-off match with Diamonds bidding to go one step further than last year when they were beaten by St Ives Town in the Southern League Division One Central play-off final.
Peaks expects his team to be backed by a healthy following from Northamptonshire at Wincham Park.
And the Diamonds boss insists confidence is high after his team booked their play-off place with an emphatic 5-1 victory over Carlton Town at the Dog & Duck on the final day of the regular season at the weekend.
“We go there with a lot of confidence and proud of what we have achieved this season,” Peaks said.
“It’s a great opportunity, it should be a great occasion and I know there will be plenty following us up there.
“The pressure is probably more on them than us because they have gone so close to winning the title and gained enough points to win it in any other season.
“I am sure there was some disappointment from their point of view and now they have got to play one or two tough matches to try to get promoted.
“I have said all along that I think we are a dangerous side on our day and we have to try to make sure that this is our day.
“We will go there with no fear but wary of the fact that they have beaten us twice this season. I know it will be very tough. But I think there is a real buzz for it amongst our lads.
“We are the ones making the journey but the players have sorted themselves out, they know the trip and what it entails, we have got everyone available and we will go there looking to get the job done.”
Peaks reported no fresh injury concerns following the weekend win with captain Richard Bunting remaining the only definite absentee due to a groin problem.
There will be segregation in place at Wincham Park tonight with Diamonds fans being housed in the Lostock End of the ground. There will be a small area of 50 seats available for Diamonds supporters that will be on a first-come, first served basis and they can be accessed via the away turnstiles.
Admission for the game is £9 for adults, £6 for concessions and £4 for under-15s and students (with relevant ID card).
Follow our reporter Jon Dunham on Twitter @JonDunhamNT for live updates on tonight’s big game and find a report and reaction on this website and in Thursday’s Northamptonshire Telegraph