Don’t put your feet up yet, warns Diamonds boss Peaks

UCL Premier Division champions AFC Rushden & Diamonds round off their league season against Cogenhoe United tomorrow
UCL Premier Division champions AFC Rushden & Diamonds round off their league season against Cogenhoe United tomorrow

AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks says cup final places are up for grabs when Cogenhoe United visit the Dog & Duck tomorrow (Saturday).

The champions play their final game of the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division campaign after they lifted the title trophy following last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Newport Pagnell.

But, even after the glorious campaign is over, Diamonds still have the Knockout Cup final against Potton United to come.

The sides meet at Yaxley a week on Monday and Peaks said: “The players can’t put their feet up yet.

“If they want to play in the cup final, they have to perform on Saturday.

“They’ve got to make it difficult for me not to pick them.”

Diamonds have been unbeaten at home this season – only Yaxley, Holbech and Wisbech have left the Dog & Duck with a point – and Peaks says he’s keen to finish with another victory.

“We want to keep this unbeaten home record going until the end of the season,” he said.

“But Cogenhoe are on a good run and they will enjoy playing in front of a big crowd.”

The Cooks have won their last four games and Peaks hopes a four-figure crowd will see Saturday’s match.

He said: “We’ve had great support and it’s been a fantastic season.

“Up until three weeks ago it was still close, but we’ve kicked on at the right time.

“We’ve got stronger as the season has gone on. We have a good team spirit and when you have that and some ability it will take you a long way.

“We’re not certain where we are going next season, but from the Kettering Town matches I’ve seen this season I expect us to be competitive at the next level.

“We may have to adjust things, but we’ve got the nucleus of a good team here and there won’t be quite the same pressure next season.

“Because of our history, every game has been like a cup final this season and teams have raised their game and played better against us than they have against other teams.

“It’s been harder this season than the league table maybe makes it look.”.

Desborough Town boss Ian Walker found reasons to be optimistic after a “topsy-turvy” season ended with back-to-back home defeats.

Ar Tarn were beaten 3-0 by Newport Pagnell Town on Tuesday night in their final Premier Division fixture of the season and Walker admits his side “went out with a bit of a whimper.”

Three days earlier, AFC Kempston left the Waterworks Field with three points following a 2-0 win.

And Walker said: “I wanted us to end the season in style but I think we ran out of steam.

“We were carrying a few injuries and were missing a few senior players.

“We gave a few of the younger players a chance but this is a tough league and we were playing good sides who are hard to beat.

“It’s been a bit topsy-turvy for us this season.

“We had a good run in November and another towards the end of the season but we haven’t been consistent enough this season.

“We haven’t done well enough at home.

“I don’t think we’ve beaten any of the bottom three sides at home this season and that’s not really good enough. That’s something we have to put right.”

Walker was pleased his side were “never in any danger of relegation” throughout the season and they achieved safety without top scorer Michael Byrne after he left to get the goals that kept Sileby Rangers in the top flight.

Walker says he’s looking to bring players in during the summer.

He said: “We have our transfer targets, so we will see what happens.

“We have a good young squad and I just think we need to strengthen in a few areas if we want to push on next season.

“We will start preparing for next season in the next couple of weeks.”