Di Paola on addition of ‘experienced’ Keehan, Lawley re-signing and Nwachukwu’s exit

Joe Keehan, Burgess Hill Town FC. Picture by Steve Robards SUS-150113-082000001
Joe Keehan, Burgess Hill Town FC. Picture by Steve Robards SUS-150113-082000001
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New signing Joe Keehan will add yet more ‘experience’ to Horsham with the midfielder being the latest summer addition to the ranks.

The 30-year-old has played for a rich list of Sussex sides including Burgess Hill, Whitehawk, Lewes and Eastbourne Borough as well as spending a year at National League side Rushden & Diamonds in 2010/11.

He makes the switch from Southern Combination League outfit Shoreham where he played with recent Horsham signing Rob O’Toole last season.

Winger Tom Lawley is also the latest player from last year’s team to commit to the Hornets, but winger Tony Nwachukwu, who had previously indicated he was staying, has made a shock U-turn to join Worthing.

On the addition of Keehan, whose brother Kevin helped the Hornets win promotion two seasons ago, manager Dominic Di Paola said: “He’s a good all-round midfielder.

“The last few years he has played largely more of a holding role, but he has good passing, a good range and he’s good in the air. He has a lot of experience and has won Ryman South and Ryman Premier, so is a good player to have. We will have to see on his commitment levels as he has got external factors.

“It came out of the blue, so was a nice one as I wasn’t expecting it.”

With Josh Pelling leaving for Hastings United last week, the Hornets are hoping to sign a goalkeeper this week and are then waiting on just two more signings.

Lawley netted seven times in 42 appearances in all competitions after joining Horsham last summer and is another Di Paola is delighted to have on board.

He said: “When Tom was playing regularly as it took a few games to get him back on track, he was probably one of our best players - in the top three or four. He is experienced, keeps the ball well and with a settled group it will suit him well.”

The departure of youth player Nwachukwu, returning to Worthing for a second spell - full story on page 75, has left a bitter taste in some Horsham supporters mouths.

But Di Paola was keen not to be drawn on the matter, he added: “There is not much point commenting on it. I am disappointed in him, I think after how they have treated him, he owed Horsham a lot.

“It’s his football and it’s his decision, he will live and die by that decision. It’s a couple of times he has left now and that’s a shame for the supporters.”