Steelmen and Diamonds excited as derby days await next season

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AFC Rushden & Diamonds and Corby Town will lock horns in league action for the first time ever next season.

The two local clubs have provisionally been allocated into the Northern Premier League Midlands for the 2023/24 campaign, setting up two blockbuster local derbies while Harborough Town, just over the Leicestershire border, are also in the division again.

The Steelmen finished just outside the play-off places in the 2022/23 campaign in the same league while Diamonds are dropping into it after being relegated from the Southern League Premier Central.

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But the fact the two clubs are now set to face each other next season has created a bit of a buzz locally.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds' Hayden Road homeAFC Rushden & Diamonds' Hayden Road home
AFC Rushden & Diamonds' Hayden Road home

Steelmen boss Gary Setchell said: “To be honest, I expected Diamonds and Cambridge City to be in the Southern League but I think it’s a tough one to weigh up.

“We think we know the teams who will be up there. The likes of Spalding United, Harborough, Coleshill Town and Sporting Khalsa.

“Diamonds have been relegated but with Nunny (manager Chris Nunn) there, you’d expect them to be strong and then there are a handful of Step 5 clubs who have come up with plenty of momentum.

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“The league was deep last season and I am expecting it to be competitive again and there are probably seven or eight teams who will think they can win it.”

And Diamonds boss Nunn added: “I am quite excited for some of the games.

“I have come up against Gary many times in the past when he was at King’s Lynn Town and Bedford Town and he is a good manager and we obviously have Harborough who are quite local as well. I communicate with their manager Mitch Austin and he’s a good guy as well.

“It’s good to see we have some local rivals and that’s what non-League football is all about.

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“It doesn’t have to be that you don’t get along with your rivals.

“You want to win more than anything, they will want to beat us more than anything but we will all shake hands and have a beer afterwards.”