Peaks staying cautious ahead of the cup derby

The AFC Rushden & Diamonds players have enjoyed a good start to the season
The AFC Rushden & Diamonds players have enjoyed a good start to the season

Andy Peaks has described tomorrow's (Saturday) Emirates FA Cup derby at Wellingborough Town as “a massive banana skin” for AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

Diamonds make a swift return to the Dog & Duck, which was their home ground until the end of last season, for the preliminary round clash against the ChromaSport United Counties League Premier Division Doughboys.

It’s been a fine start to the new season for Peaks’ men with a 2-0 win over Hanwell Town at Hayden Road being followed by an impressive display and a 3-0 success at Thame United on Tuesday night.

The victories have left Diamonds on top of the early standings in the Evo-Stik South League East.

But Peaks is staying cautious ahead of this weekend’s clash in a competition that has been kind to his team in recent seasons.

“As good as we were on Tuesday, it really means nothing for the next game,” the Diamonds boss said.

“Wellingborough are a team from the level below so it makes it a cup final for them.

“But it’s a cup final for us as well. I have made no secret about my love for the FA Cup.

“It’s a massive competition and it’s one we have been fortunate to do well in in the past couple of seasons.

“We would love to go on another run in it and to get to the big games, you have to go through the earlier rounds and make sure you get it right.

“This is a massive banana skin for us, they will be desperate to put one over us.

“But I am looking forward to going back there. They were good to us over the years and I have some good friends there who I look forward to seeing.

“However, the main purpose of the day is to ensure our players do their jobs and pick up another good result.”

Peaks, meanwhile, believes he will have a job on his hands to keep members of his squad happy after the fine start to the new season.

Diamonds’ summer signings have made an immediate impact alongside the remaining members of last season’s squad that reached the play-offs in the Evo-Stik League South.

Peaks made just one change to his team for Tuesday after the weekend success with Tom Lorraine replacing Chris Dillon.

And the Diamonds boss knows there will be tough decisions to make down the line.

He added: “I saw good signs in pre-season, I feel we have improved the squad where we needed to.

“There is some real strength in depth now.

“And it will be a test of my management skills to make sure I keep as many of them as happy as possible.”