Rivalry resumed as Diamonds look to stretch their lead

AFC Rushden & Diamonds manager Andy Peaks
AFC Rushden & Diamonds manager Andy Peaks

AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks reckons Oadby Town will be desperate to put a dent in his side’s ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League Premier Division title hopes tomorrow (Saturday).

Diamonds head to Freeway Park looking to stretch their lead at the top and strike another blow in the rivalry between the sides.

Peaks, who watched Oadby at Long Buckby in midweek, said: “There’s definitely a rivalry there.

“We were fighting for second spot in Division One a couple of years ago. We got it and they ended up fourth.

“We’ve always had tough games with Oadby.

“When they came here, they had a lot of good youngsters and we know that Oadby is a hard place to go to.

“It’s a heavy pitch and they are fighting for points.”

Diamonds have five games this month – including a crucial six-pointer at title rivals Holbeach United on January 24 – but Peaks isn’t looking too far ahead.

Holbeach beat third-placed Yaxley 1-0 on Wednesday night to move to within five points of Diamonds with two games in hand.

But Peaks said: “If we lose our next three games, we won’t have anything to play for at Holbeach. It’s only a big game if we keep picking up points.

“I don’t look too far ahead and set targets.

“We are thinking that Holbeach and all the other teams around us will keep picking up maximum points, so we have to keep picking up maximum points as well.”

Diamonds, meanwhile, have confirmed their game with Harborough Town next Tuesday night will go ahead after the floodlight issues at the Dog & Duck were resolved.

A club statement said: “Following the floodlight issues in recent matches at the Dog & Duck, the club arranged for the lights to be inspected and a report submitted to the league.

The league are satisfied, and so floodlit games can now resume at the ground.”

Desborough Town head into a run of four home games with a warning from boss Ian Walker.

Ar Tarn welcome Eynesbury Rovers to the Waterworks Field tomorrow and that’s followed by further home clashes with Long Buckby, Sileby Rangers and Peterborough Northern Star.

Eynesbury, Long Bucky and Sileby are all below Ar Tarn in the table but Walker (pictured right) says that means nothing.

He said: “Everybody’s strengthening and the second half of the season is definitely going to be tougher.

“Teams at the bottom are reinforcing to get themselves out of trouble and every game is going to be a challenge.

“We’ve worked hard to get where we are and we have to keep grinding out points to stay away from the bottom and consolidate our position.

“We do need to be more consistent.”

Ar Tarn, whose home date with AFC Kempston Rovers was rained off last weekend, were the Premier Division’s form side in November, then had three straight losses in December before their Boxing Day win at Harborough Town.

Wellingborough Town return to action with a home clash against sixth-placed Wisbech Town this weekend.

The Doughboys have slipped to 16th following back-to-back defeats, the latest of which was a 2-1 loss to Dog & Duck rivals AFC Rushden & Diamonds on New Year’s Day.

The clash with Wisbech remains listed as a 2pm kick-off, although it has been confirmed that the floodlight issues at the ground have now been resolved.