Can ex-Cobbler Harriman rescue Rushden & Diamonds?

Rushden & Diamonds manager Michael Harriman during his time at Northampton Town
Diamonds manager Michael Harriman during his Northampton Town days [Getty Images/Pete Norton]

At Christmas, they looked to be sunk. AFC Rushden and Diamonds had had their worst start to a season, losing their first nine games and recording only one league win between August and January.

But the appointment of former Northampton Town defender Michael Harriman as manager appeared to turn the fortunes of the club around.

It all comes down to the wire on Saturday and the last game of the season for the Northern Premier League Division One Midlands side, at Walsall Wood.

The team's escape from relegation also hangs on the result of rivals Rugby Town. Both teams have 29 points, but on goal difference Rugby are two ahead of the Diamonds after their 4-0 drubbing of Walsall Wood last week.

Rushden & Diamonds' Hayden Road ground
Hayden Road, which Rushden & Diamonds leave this season [Getty Images/Pete Norton]

"We kept that result from the boys," Harriman told the BBC. "We didn't think they needed the extra pressure."

Harriman knows that Saturday will be stressful for both players and supporters, but he said that once the changing room door shut it would be "us against the world" - and he believes the team can achieve the "impossible".

The 31-year-old said: "Everyone's saying that me and Shanks [assistant manager Tom Lorraine] have done this brilliant job since we started, but to do this job and not get over the line... well, that would be the hardest part of it, I think."

Both Harriman and Lorraine said it had been a steep learning curve.

Lorraine spoke to the BBC in January, when the Diamonds were 15 points from safety. He said he felt positive about the rest of the season, and believed the squad had the potential to be the better team in 75% of the remaining games.

Harriman agrees. He said the players had been fantastic and he only wished the club had "five or six" games of the season left to get the outcome he thinks they deserve.

More on this story

Related Internet Links

Follow East of England news on Facebook, Instagram and X. Got a story? Email or WhatsApp us on 0800 169 1830