Peaks keen to see how Diamonds respond

Brad Harris has returned to AFC Rushden & Diamonds
Brad Harris has returned to AFC Rushden & Diamonds

Andy Peaks is looking forward to seeing how his AFC Rushden & Diamonds players respond from their midweek setback.

Diamonds suffered just their second home defeat of the season in the Evo-Stik South League East as fellow high-fliers Hayes & Yeading United claimed a 1-0 success at Hayden Road on Tuesday night.

Diamonds are now looking ahead to another huge test tomorrow (Saturday) when they head to fifth-placed Hartley Wintney while they will be back on home soil next Tuesday night when they entertain Uxbridge.

Peaks’ team still hold a five-point advantage at the top of the table with 10 games to go.

And his belief in his squad has not waivered, despite the midweek defeat.

“Tuesday was always going to be one of toughest games we had left because Hayes are a good side and I knew that,” the Diamonds boss said.

“Their team fluctuates from week-to-week but we knew they would come here strong.

“But we still have a bit of a cushion and we have a good squad. I have a lot of belief in them.

“It’s disappointing because you want to win every game but we have to dust ourselves off, get back on the training pitch and be ready for another really tough game.

“It will be good to see how the boys bounce back after a bit of a disappointment.

“But, to be honest, we have got 10 tough games in front of us now.

“It’s not even a case of dragging ourselves over the line.

“We have just got to win some more games of football and keep doing what we have been doing.

“Tuesday was a tough game against a good side and we lost, that’s football.”

Defender Jack Ashton looks set to miss this weekend’s clash after he was withdrawn with a hamstring injury early on in the defeat to Hayes.

But Peaks was pleased with the contribution of substitute Blaize Punter who slotted in well alongside Liam Dolman and Sam Brown in a back three.

“Jack had a recurrence of his hamstring,” Peaks added.

“He had been doing a lot of fitness work and training and had a lot of treatment.

“He thought he was going to be okay but there’s nothing quite like playing in a game and I think he overstretched for a good tackle and he felt it so we got him straight off.

“But it left an opportunity for Blaize who came on and I thought he was fantastic for us."

Diamonds are also set to have new signings Spencer Weir-Daley and the returning Brad Harris available after their moves to Hayden Road were confirmed late on Wednesday.