Peaks opens up about Diamonds' FA Trophy controversy
AFC Rushden & Diamonds received a bye into the first round of the FA Trophy after their opponents refused to travel due to health and safety concerns
Andy Peaks has had his say over the circumstances which led to AFC Rushden & Diamonds receiving a bye into the first round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.
Diamonds had been due to play Ilkeston Town in the third qualifying round last weekend but the game was called off when the Northern Premier League side refused to travel to Hayden Road on health and safety grounds.
Diamonds’ Southern League Premier Central clash with Tamworth was postponed last Tuesday following a positive test for Covid-19 within the squad.
Diamonds insisted they followed all appropriate protocols while liaising with both the Football Association and Public Health Northants before being given the all-clear to host the Trophy clash.
But Ilkeston chose not to travel, resulting in them ultimately forfeiting their place in the competition.
The situation sparked a row between fans of both clubs on social media and Peaks has now had his say.
“I haven’t said much about it publicly but one thing I would say is about our club is that we do things the right way,” the Diamonds boss said.
“Any times where players have not been quite right during this pandemic I have left them out and we have gone through the right protocols.
“We did the same thing last week and the right decision was made. There were some things said last week that I wasn’t particularly happy with and accusations that we were putting lives at risk.
“We would never do that and the fact that has been levelled at the club is ridiculous. They frustrate me at times for doing the right thing all the time!
“They have always done things to the letter so the right decision was made. We followed all the guidelines and got the all clear for the game to be played.”
Diamonds and all other ‘non-elite’ clubs are now facing a four-week break from matches and training due to the new national lockdown.
But when they do return, the next round of the Trophy will see them taking on league rivals Peterborough Sports on a date yet to be confirmed.
And Peaks added: “Peterborough Sports are a great team.
“I have watched them a few times when scouting upcoming opponents and we never actually got to play them last season.
“But they are a good team and it will be a tough game.
“We will have to be at our best when the time comes but I think that’s a game we can all look forward to for when we get going again.”