Tigers boss Chand wants extra support

RACE FOR PROMOTION: Jamie Clarke, who headed home the extra-time winner for Holbeach United to reach the last 16 of the FA Vase, could be recalled to the Tigers' attack for Saturday's showdown with UCL Premier Division frontrunners AFC Rushden & Diamonds at Carter's Park. Photo: STEVE RELF
RACE FOR PROMOTION: Jamie Clarke, who headed home the extra-time winner for Holbeach United to reach the last 16 of the FA Vase, could be recalled to the Tigers' attack for Saturday's showdown with UCL Premier Division frontrunners AFC Rushden & Diamonds at Carter's Park. Photo: STEVE RELF
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Joint-boss John Chand wants a bumper crowd to show their support for Holbeach United in Saturday’s showdown with league leaders AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

The Tigers are eight points off top spot with four games in hand in the ChromaSport & Trophies United Counties League’s Premier Division title race.

Chand feels Holbeach are slight favourites ahead of the clash at Carter’s Park after a run of 11 successive wins in all competitions.

They have kept in touch with Diamonds while also keeping alive their dreams of glory in the FA Vase, UCL Knockout Cup and Lincolnshire Senior Trophy.

Chand said: “We are fighting on four fronts at the moment so it would be great to see more supporters here on Saturday.

“It’s our home game so we don’t want our fans to be in the minority.

“When we won the league our average attendance was over 200 but I’d love to see 250 here against Diamonds.

“We know if we win the game then that would put us in the driving seat.

“If Diamonds win then it would be their title to lose with the points on the board, even though we will still have those games in hand.

“At this stage I think many people would put us slightly on top as favourites but you can’t read too much into it.

“We have got a settled squad while Diamonds have felt the need to bring in a few players over the last couple of weeks.

“Andy Peaks is a good manager but he has a job on his hands trying to keep five strikers happy.

“I’m sure Diamonds will come here and play. It’s not in their DNA to do anything other than trying to win the game.

“But there is no way we will set out for a draw because that’s not in our mentality either.

“We have got to fancy ourselves to win at home.”

Meanwhile, Peaks believes Diamonds’ response to a “kick up the backside” has helped put them in the best possible form.

Diamonds go into the big game this weekend on the back of two 3-0 home wins in a row against Harborough Town and Sleaford Town.

Those victories were much-needed after the shock 2-0 defeat at Oadby Town which well and truly opened up the title race.

Diamonds boss Peaks said: “The fact we lost at Oadby just proves what can happen, there are some good teams in the division who are capable of raising their game when they play the likes of us and Holbeach.

“We have bounced back well. We have probably beaten two teams that most would expect us to beat but I think the defeat at Oadby was a kick up the backside for us.

“It was a reality check for us as a group and we have responded by taking things up another level with two good performances.”

Diamonds are set to be roared on by a large following at Carter’s Park and Peaks knows that will only be a benefit to his team.

He added: “Our following away from home is always good and I hope they are there in numbers again at the weekend.

“It does help the boys if we can get good support behind us on the road and hopefully we can all help each other to get to where we want to be.”

Diamonds’ frontline has been boosted this week by the arrival of former Corby Town and Daventry Town striker Tommy Berwick.

Peaks insists the welcome return of Russ Dunkley from injury last weekend has also given everyone a lift.

There was one departure when frontman Fazel Koriya joined Rugby Town.