AFC Rushden & Diamonds U21 Season Preview

AFC Rushden & Diamonds U21 side will kick off their 2015/16 campaign at the weekend with a trip to face Eynesbury Rovers U21 on Saturday 5th September (KO 2pm).

The Diamonds U21 side will again be playing in the United Counties League Under-21 Division, and you will be able to find details of their fixtures and results here, and their league table here.

For this season the UCL U21 Division is significantly expanded, with a number of UCL teams entering an U21 side for the first time, and in some cases this will be instead of fielding a reserve side. Additionally there are several teams such as the Diamonds who do not field a senior side in the UCL but who have entered their U21 team in this division. With both Kettering Town and MK College recognising the benefits of their first season in this league by fielding a second team in the division this campaign, the league is planned to have 16 sides as follows:

  • AFC Kempston Rovers U21
  • AFC Rushden & Diamonds U21
  • Bedford U21
  • Daventry Town U21
  • Desborough Town U21
  • Eynesbury Rovers U21
  • Football CV Reds U21
  • Histon U21
  • Kettering Town Development U21
  • Kettering Town Elite U21
  • Mildenhall Town U21
  • MK College U21 Development
  • MK College U21 Elite
  • Stamford AFC U21
  • Wellingborough Town U21
  • Yaxley U21

The U21 games are played on Saturdays, typically with a morning kick-off. The Diamonds home games will be at Raunds Manor with an 11am kick-off (unless advised otherwise on the fixture list), with their first home game being on September 19th. Directions to Raunds Manor are detailed here.

See here for directions and details for the U21 League as a whole, with a club directory and a map showing the various locations here.

The Diamonds U21 side is also one of 66 sides entered into the NFA Lower Junior Cup, and they have avoided being one of the four teams to play in a preliminary round in this competition, so will find out their opponents in due course.

The Diamonds U21 side are managed by Andy Keen who has had extensive experience of football management at both youth and senior levels, notably in the Berkshire and Chiltern areas – you can find details of his appointment before the start of last season here.

Andy has been building up his squad ready for the start of the campaign, and they completed their pre-season fixtures with a 9-2 victory over MK College U21 Development side on Wednesday evening – details here. As well as the players he recruits directly, Andy will also liaise with the managers of the various AFC R&D U18 sides, as he looks to give some of those players exposure to football at a higher level. You can find details of the Diamonds U18 setup for the 2015/16 campaign here.

The overall club structure is illustrated in the following diagram, which is also available in PDF format with clickable links to the various leagues – Whole_Club_Football_Structure1516 v3