harriers-online match preview
18th March 2005  
Rushden & Diamonds
At Aggborough
19/3/05    3:00pm
The excitement's mounting all around us as the day of the big game approaches.

The wives and partners of Harriers fans are trying hard to keep them from getting overly excited.  Children are finding it hard to get to sleep at night thinking about what lies ahead and I'm struggling to come up with something to top all that.

Drewe Broughton Drewe Broughton's excited too.  He now considers himself the king of penalty takers after pushing the usual penalty taker out of the way when his side were awarded one against Northampton last week.  To the Rushden fans relief he managed to actually get the ball into the net and now he can't wait to take another.

He'll have to wait another week then because he won't be getting one against us.

It's us what gets the penalties Drewe and we did so to good effect at Notts County last week when Dean Keates slotted two past two different keepers to put us on the way to a fantastic victory.  Trust your lot to go and spoil our celebrations with Billy Sharps lucky last minute goal.

All this has set up the game nicely and with so much at stake it should be a cracker.  Both sides need the points, us more so, to get out of the guaranteed relegation spots and hope that Chester, Bury and now Notts County after Wednesday nights 4-0 defeat at Boston, get dragged down there instead.

We'll have to do it without Tom Bennett now he has to serve a two game ban for ten yellow cards.  Some may say that's a good thing but he has been part of an unchanged team that has bought a new air of optimism around Aggborough.  At least we now have strength in depth to cover for this kind of problem, something we didn't have when Jan Molby was in charge.

The permutations are various and could see Bertrand Cozic moving into that position or a re-jig to accommodate Billy Jones or the now fit Lee Jenkins at the back with Hatswell moving back into midfield and Simon Weaver moving across.   Watkiss could go more attack minded and put Ian Foster or Simon Russell in there in an effort to go all out for an early goal or two.

Whatever happens we do need to attack and get our shots on target.  That's just what we had last Saturday and if we had put all those chances away we could have been 4-0 up at half time.

As mentioned just now Lee Jenkins has now recovered from his knee injury but there have been a few worries in the camp with John Danby (finger), Mark Jackson (back), Johnny Mullins (hamstring) and Chris Beardsley all in the wars this week although all are expected to play.

The biggest worry though has to be Ian Foster.  He's had a knee injury for over a month now and is having daily injections to ease the swelling.  If fit he'll be raring to get at Rushden because he's the only player left at the club that played against them during our battles in the Conference.

Rushden fans are looking forward to this game almost as much as we are.  The reason is because it could be the last time they can taste our famous soup before they go down to the Conference.

They could be the first club to go straight from League 1 to the Conf in two seasons after getting relegated last season.  Max Griggs has now, admirably, passed the club into the ownership of the fans and that will take effect from the end of this season and to be honest I hope that they do manage to stay in the Football League after all the recent problems.

I know that many people say that they bought their way into the League in the first place and they are a 'plastic team' with 'plastic fans' but if they can be seen to survive and go forward with true fans at the helm then I would say that they deserve to be recognised as a proper club at last.

For the game tomorrow they'll have a few absentees in David Bell (ankle), Andy Burgess (back), Graham Allen (hip) and Phil Gulliver (knee).  Gary Mills and Andy Sambrook are out long term and Peter Hawkins is suspended for our game.

So, with two teams both on a good run at the moment and fighting for their lives is there going to be a winner?

Win this and we get to within one point of Rushden and if Chester lose at home to Notts County - doubtful considering County's dreadful form in the past two games - three points from them.

Lose and we go back to seven points difference and our job made all the harder.

Can't see us losing this one though - we're too bloody good!


Harriers from:
Danby, Lewis, Burton, Mullins, Jones, Sall, Weaver, Jackson, Hatswell, Hazell, Beardsley, McGrath, Jenkins, Keates, Cozic, Gleeson, Sturrock, Christie, Rawle, Foster, Russell.

Rushden from:
Shearer, Worgan, Connelly, Gier, Hay, Gray, Sharp, Hunter, Broughton, Dempster, Duffy, Littlejohn, Dove, McCafferty, Kelly, Okuonghae, Taylor, Chalmer-Stevens, Wark, Jackson, Kennedy, Williams.
Previous games against Rushden
Harriers score first
2004 - 05
0 - 0
2003 - 04
2002 - 03
2 - 2
0 - 2
3 - 1
2 - 1
2001 - 02
3 - 0
2 - 0
2000 - 01

links to some
rushden websites:

official site

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