Starmer confident as Diamonds gear up for their ‘huge day’

AFC Rushden & Diamonds manager Mark Starmer
AFC Rushden & Diamonds manager Mark Starmer

Ninety minutes from the last 16 and four victories from an outing at the arch-dominated stadium in north London.

An equation that will be foremost in the minds of the AFC Rushden & Diamonds players and staff come three o’clock on Saturday afternoon.

Leicestershire outfit St Andrews are the visitors to the Dog & Duck in the fourth round of the FA Vase for an encounter that is expected to attract a sizable attendance.

The Diamonds, who play their football a level higher than the Premier Division of the East Midlands Counties League where their opponenets reside, will justifiably start as favourites.

And although manager Mark Starmer is playing the ‘anything can happen in a cup game’ card, he can barely disguise a desire to extend a cup run that has been gathering pace nicely.

“We’ve got a home tie and if we play well then we can get through to the next round,” he said.

“In cup competitons form can go out of the window and we certainly won’t be complacent as they will come here with nothing to fear.

“They’re at this stage of the competition on merit and so are we and it will be a tight 90 minutes of football.”

Once the game is under way, Starmer says that the occasion won’t get in the way but in the build-up he knows exactly what it all means.

He added; “Our emphasis is to make it through.

“We know that it’s a huge day for the club and what could be at stake if we keep winning games.

“Realistically it’s all we’re playing for so we have to go out there and really make the most of it.

“All 32 clubs who are left will think it could be their year and we’re no different. We want to win it.”

Progress, Starmer insists, will come down to which side handles the conditions, which will be heavy after the recent weather, and takes their chances.

He said: “We’ll approach the game the same as we always do.

“We like to get the ball out wide and then in the middle and the edgea of the pitch aren’t too bad.

“So we’ll try to play like we can do and that happens then we’ve got every chance.”