Rovers friendly the most valuable so far for Diamonds boss Peaks

AFC Rushden & Diamonds are building towards the start of their Southern League Premier Central campaign on August 17

By Jon Dunham
Thursday, 5th August 2021, 7:24 am
Updated Thursday, 5th August 2021, 7:26 am
AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks
AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Andy Peaks

Andy Peaks described AFC Rushden & Diamonds’ latest pre-season friendly at Barton Rovers as the “most valuable” of the summer so far.

Diamonds were held to a 1-1 draw by their lower-ranked hosts as they continue their build-up to the new Southern League Premier Central season, which sees them kicking off against Banbury United at Hayden Road on Tuesday, August 17.

The latest run-out came three days after Diamonds were forced to call off a friendly with Daventry Town due to members of the squad showing symptoms of Covid-19.

However, with players testing regularly, they were cleared to play in midweek and Peaks was pleased they were.

“We had a couple showing some symptoms so they had to isolate and the game came after we had all been together on Thursday night,” the Diamonds boss said.

“You can’t be too careful but everyone has done tests since then and everyone seems to be okay.

“It’s still out there and we just have to make sure we play by the rules and look after ourselves.

“But it was good to get back out there on Tuesday and I would say it was the most valuable game we have had so far because I learned a lot.

“It was a real battle, just what you would expect. There wasn’t a lot of football played but the reality is that is what a lot of matches are like, you have to earn the right.

“A lot of friendlies so far have been exactly that but this had a bit more blood and thunder about it and I learned a lot from it.

“We’ve got a couple more to play and they will be similar to what we had on Tuesday.

“They are both in the league below and they will be good tests.

“I am looking forward to the next two games, I am sure I will learn a lot more and it’s all about making sure we are ready for that opening match of the season.”

Those final two friendlies see Diamonds heading to Thame United on Saturday before they play Daventry in the rearranged match at Hayden Road on Tuesday night for the Dale Roberts Memorial Cup.

Diamonds, meanwhile, have completed a new signing with the addition of former Bedford Town and Kempston Rovers midfielder Nathan Tshikuna while youngsters Will Glennon and Bailey Weatherly have also signed Southern League forms for the new season.