Tough cup test at Hayes isn't a revenge mission for Diamonds

Andy Peaks takes his AFC Rushden & Diamonds team to Hayes & Yeading United in the first qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup this weekend
Andy Peaks takes his AFC Rushden & Diamonds team to Hayes & Yeading United in the first qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup this weekend

AFC Rushden & Diamonds are ready to face off against an old foe in the first qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup this weekend.

Andy Peaks’ men enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 success over Deeping Rangers at Hayden Road on Tuesday night thanks to Tom Lorraine’s brace and Callum Westwood’s first goal of the season.

And that has set up a clash at Hayes & Yeading United tomorrow (Saturday).

The two clubs were involved in a promotion battle in the Evo-Stik South League East Division last season with Diamonds eventually earning automatic elevation.

Hayes got the better of Peaks’ team in the two meetings between the clubs, winning 1-0 on both occasions.

They are now plying their trade in the Bostik League South Central Division and are so far unbeaten with 10 points from their four matches.

It makes it a tricky assignment for Diamonds but Peaks insists it’s not a revenge mission.

“It’s a tough one for us,” he said.

“We met them twice last season, had two really close games against them and lost both.

“For the boys, it’s a question of whether we can go and get something this time.

“It’s the FA Cup, we want to do well in it and we have a tough draw.

“But we will go there in good spirits. We have had a great start to the season from where I am looking at it.

“For me, it’s another game. When it’s the FA Cup, it doesn’t really matter who you are playing.

“I don’t think the players will see it as a revenge mission. They did beat us twice last season but hopefully we will get that bit of luck and get through.”

Diamonds were again without Jack Ashton in midweek as a knee injury continues to keep him on the sidelines.

And, with the central defender having had problems with his knee in the past, Peaks insists he won’t be rushed back.

“Jack’s a little bit better but we aren’t going rush him,” the Diamonds boss added.

“We have had problems with his knee before so we will be careful.

“He wasn’t 100 per cent at the start of the season but he ran through the brick wall for me because Liam Dolman was out.

“He stepped up to the plate and he was fantastic. It’s probably caught up with him we all know Jack and he will come back in as and when.”