Poppies and Diamonds are relishing their final clash
Marcus Law and Andy Peaks are relishing the prospect of Kettering Town and AFC Rushden & Diamonds doing battle for the NFA Hillier Senior Cup.
The clubs will collide in the final of the county competition at Northampton Town’s Sixfields home in April for the first time since the fans-owned Diamonds were formed.
Two late goals from Brett Solkhon earned the Poppies a 2-0 win at Rothwell Corinthians in their semi-final on Tuesday while Diamonds bounced back from a shock 4-0 loss at Beaconsfield SYCOB last weekend with an impressive 2-1 success over Brackley Town.
Law and Peaks have both experienced matches between Kettering and Rushden & Diamonds in the past.
Both managers concede they have other things to think about before the final arrives with the Poppies chasing an Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division play-off place and Diamonds in the hunt for the Division One Central title.
But the encounter has already got people talking.
Poppies boss Law said: “The journey to the final is always difficult because you want to be wary of picking the right team to try to get the jobs done.
“But the determination to get through did go up when the prospect of us playing Rushden showed itself.
“I think it’s fantastic for the supporters of both clubs because they get the chance to really rekindle that rivalry.
“I was fortunate to be the manager here for two games against Rushden & Diamonds and I know how much is means.
“There’s obviously a lot for both clubs to play for before then but I am sure the interest in the final will be high and hopefully we all make a good fist of filling the stadium as much as possible.”
Peaks, meanwhile, added: “I think it is a final that everyone wants to see.
“It will be great for us to pit our wits against another good team and it’s a game I, as a manager, the players and fans can look forward to.
“I have played in matches for Rushden & Diamonds against Kettering in the past so I know what it’s like and what it means to people.
“We can look forward to that but it does go on the back-burner for the time being.
“For us, Tuesday night was important to get last weekend out of our system. Our players answered a lot of critics and have set the standard for the next 15 league games and that final in April.”
It had been previously announced that the final would take place on Tuesday, April 12. That is now not the case and a date for the clash is yet to be confirmed.