UCL Preview - Diamonds and Sileby ready for a showdown

AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Mark Starmer
AFC Rushden & Diamonds boss Mark Starmer

There is no doubt where the biggest game of a busy night of ChromaSport United Counties League action is this evening (Tuesday).

The venue is Fernie Fields in Moulton as Division One leaders Sileby Rangers take on third-placed AFC Rushden & Diamonds in a crucial contest in the battle for promotion to the Premier Division.

With second-placed Eynesbury Rovers and fourth-placed Oadby Town also in action, it is shaping up to be a key night in the division.

But Diamonds manager Mark Starmer insists he won’t be putting any extra pressure on his players ahead of the clash.

Diamonds and Eynesbury are seven points behind Sileby while Oadby are also well in the hunt as they sit a further seven points further back but have at least three games in hand on all of the team above them.

All four sides, who are battling for two promotion places, will play each other at some point over the next month and Starmer knows how important those fixtures will be in deciding who goes up.

“It is a big game tonight, there is no getting away from that,” Starmer said.

“But we are treating it as another game and there won’t be any more pressure on our boys than there was for the one at the weekend (the 2-1 win at Bourne).

“Sileby are the leaders. They deserve to be there and it is going to be extremely difficult. But we are in good form ourselves and hopefully it has the makings of a very good game.

“March looks like it is going to be a crucial month because all the teams at the top have to play each other. And I don’t think you can rule out Bugbrooke either because they have games in hand and also have to play the top four as well.

“But we are just concentrating on tonight and it will certainly give us an indication of where we are and what has to be done to get us to where we want to be.”

While they are doing battle, Sileby and Diamonds will be hoping for a favour from Rushden & Higham as they head to another of the promotion candidates Oadby.

Thrapston Town, fresh from a fine 3-1 victory at Buckingham Town at the weekend, entertain ON Chenecks at Chancery Lane while Whitworth are in Hinchingbrooke Cup action as they take on Saffron Walden in the quarter-finals at London Road.

Rothwell Corinthians, meanwhile, are in Division One action tomorrow (Wednesday) night when they head to Buckingham.

It is another huge night for Wellingborough Town in the Premier Division as they continue their quest to avoid relegation as they take on Blackstones at the Dog & Duck.

The Doughboys fought back from 2-0 down to earn a valuable point in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Deeping.

Stewarts & Lloyds were without a game at the weekend but they are back in action at the deep end this evening as they host leaders Holbeach United, whose 1-0 win at Desborough Town on Saturday was their 14th victory in the last 15 matches.