Peaks hopes a big crowd will be on hand for Diamonds' key clash

Luke Fairlamb will miss AFC Rushden & Diamonds' next three games due to suspension
Luke Fairlamb will miss AFC Rushden & Diamonds' next three games due to suspension

Andy Peaks believes AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ crucial clash with AFC Dunstable tomorrow (Saturday) deserves to be watched by a big crowd at Hayden Road.

In what could prove to be one of the pivotal days of the season so far in the Evo-Stik South League East, the table-topping Diamonds will move eight points clear of third-placed Dunstable if they are victorious.

With the top two earning automatic promotion this season ahead of a restructure of the leagues in the summer, Diamonds could take a giant step towards securing one of those spots if they can maintain their superb recent form this weekend.

Peaks’ team extended their unbeaten run in the league to 15 matches with a 3-1 success at Moneyfields last Saturday.

It’s been a highly-impressive campaign for Diamonds, their first in Rushden after they moved to Hayden Road from the Dog & Duck in Wellingborough last summer.

It was a move that was expected to bring with it added attention and an increase in crowds.

And, although their home average of 482 is comfortably the highest in the division, Peaks admitted he expected a bit more, especially with his team doing the business on the pitch.

“That’s been the biggest downside for me this season, I thought we would attract more interest with going back to Rushden,” Peaks said.

“We are playing lots of good football, we are in a good position in the league and the facilities are good.

“It would be great to see a few more coming through the turnstiles and Saturday would be a good time for it to start.

“It’s another massive game, they are right on our heels and on a good run of form themselves. They have some good players in their squad.

“It’s our most important game of the season because it’s the next one but, with the position we are in, that theme will be repeated every week.

“But there is obviously a bit more to this one because we are playing a team who are pretty close to us. It’s a big game but we, like everyone else up there, have plenty of those to come.

“We had one last weekend and we dealt with that. Now we have to focus on tomorrow and see if we can deal with that.”

Diamonds will be forced into a reshuffle with Luke Fairlamb starting a three-match ban following his red card during last weekend’s win at Moneyfields.

It means the winger will also miss Tuesday’s NFA Hillier Senior Cup semi-final at Kettering Town and next weekend’s trip to Arlesey Town.