Match Preview: AFC Rushden & Diamonds vs Leiston FC – Saturday 2nd April 3.00 pm KO

Diamonds entertain Leiston at Hayden Road on Saturday with our friends from Suffolk making a near 120 mile trip to deepest Northamptonshire. We wish them well on their journey and hope they enjoy their day and journey back home safely.

It’s 5th versus 7th in the league table with the sides competing with 6th placed Alvechurch for a play-off place. 11 points separate the sides with 5 games left so it’s very much a must win for Leiston who have had an impressive season that they will be desperate to keep going. They won the reverse fixture in Suffolk so Diamonds will be keen to make amends for that reverse.

Diamonds are unbeaten in three and have won four of the last 7 with just one defeat at 4th placed Peterborough Sports in that run. A goalless draw at relegation threatened Biggleswade on Tuesday night kept the points total ticking over. 3 wins from 5 will definitely clinch the play-offs for Andy Burgess’ men but 2 or even 1 might be enough given the games others have to play but it will be nothing less than full gas today for Andy’s boys.

Andy changed up the team midweek and has a set of new young faces to call from to support the team who have performed so well for 5 months. Lewis Johnson on loan from MK Dons, Jordan Graham former Leicester City trainee, Lauric Diakiesse from Kettering who has his first Diamonds goal and Nigel Chikamba from the U21 Academy ranks. The defence looks solid and largely picks itself but further forward availability and form will determine the formation the manager goes with.

Today’s game is our annual Community Day. This will be the second part of their day, having just completed a sponsored walk. We will welcome in great numbers AFCR&D Community players and parents at the end of their sponsored walk. Please make all the Community players and their accompanying adults feel welcome. 11 Community Players will lead the Diamonds Team onto the pitch before kick-off, they will have a pitch walk around at half time so give them a round of applause, and finish the day with a post-match penalty shoot-out.

These youngsters are the future fans, volunteers, and players of the future and we need to encourage them and their adults as much as we can to enjoy their Saturday afternoons at Hayden Road.

We’d love some of these young folk to join us in the media team as part of their development like Joseph McCormack did a few years back. He has blossomed as a commentor, writer, interviewer and tannoy announcer and truly honed his skills at Diamonds. I’m sure he will go on to bigger and better things but there is no reason why one of the folk attending on Saturday couldn’t be the next Joseph!!

I’m hoping to make my return to the media team on Saturday after a bit of a break and looking forward to a cracking contest between two good sides competing at the top end of the table.

So tune in to Radio Diamonds and our Twitter updates if you can’t make the game and look out for the post match interviews and match reports. We really do bring you all the action with our trademark balance and infectious enthusiasm. Just listen when the goals go in!!

Enjoy the game.

Paul Judd
Media Team

AFC Rushden & Diamonds

One Fan, ONE vote, one community, one club