Pressure is on for Diamonds and Witton

Andy Peaks' AFC Rushden & Diamonds team face a tough trip to title-chasing Witton Albion tonight
Andy Peaks' AFC Rushden & Diamonds team face a tough trip to title-chasing Witton Albion tonight

AFC Rushden & Diamonds face one of their toughest assignments of the season tonight (Tuesday) as they bid to respond after their setback at the weekend.

Andy Peaks’ team dropped out of the play-off places in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South after the 2-1 loss at Market Drayton Town.

Diamonds are just behind fifth-placed Basford United with three games in hand, the first of which is at title-chasing Witton Albion this evening.

Witton, who were impressive in a 2-0 success at the Dog & Duck earlier this month, now have leaders Shaw Lane in their sights after their 2-1 win at Rugby Town on Saturday was coupled with the table-toppers’ 3-1 loss at Belper Town.

But for Peaks, the aim is to see his team jump back into the top five as quickly as possible.

With eight games to go, Diamonds still have things in their own hands.

And Peaks believes there is pressure on both teams ahead tonight’s clash.

“There’s a bit of pressure on them because they are now in a position where they can catch Shaw Lane but there is pressure on us to respond and get back on track as well,” the Diamonds boss said.

“It’s a tough, tough game. They are the best team we have played this season and now we have to go to their own pitch.

“There possibly isn’t as much expectation on us as there normally would be but, with the squad we have here now, if we can go there and defend well and be clinical when chances come then I see no reason why we can’t get a positive result.

“It was a setback at the weekend and, with the way other results went, it was a missed opportunity to consolidate our position.

“But I can’t be too critical of the performance. We did enough to win the game and we created enough chances to win three games. But a 10-minute period in the second half cost us and we weren’t clinical enough.

“We have eight massive games left and we are in control of our own destiny. If we maintain the performance levels we have shown then I believe we can finish where we want to be.”

Diamonds will be checking up on the fitness of Richard Bunting ahead of the clash after he suffered a knock during the loss at Market Drayton while Brad Harris is available again after completing a two-match suspension.