Dodd and Knee are out for the season but Di Paola looks forwards

Football: Ryman League South Division: Horsham v Whyteleafe. Pic Steve Robards  SR1630831 SUS-161017-132502001
Football: Ryman League South Division: Horsham v Whyteleafe. Pic Steve Robards SR1630831 SUS-161017-132502001

Horsham striker Terry Dodd has been ruled out for the season and experienced full-back Mark Knee looks likely to suffer the same fate - having not made a single appearance.

Both would have been key members of the Hornets squad this season as they plotted a survival battle on their return to the Ryman League.

Horsham Football Club Mark Knee on the ball SUS-151210-131550005

Horsham Football Club Mark Knee on the ball SUS-151210-131550005

Knee has been sidelined since pre-season when he picked up a knock in a friendly match against Newhaven.

He has been a huge miss to the squad, while proven striker Dodd has been out since November when he picked up a nasty knee injury.

The frontman’s goals were crucial last season and the fact Horsham have had such a successful campaign with both out is credit to the management and players.

There are fears over when Dodd may return, with Hornets manager Dominic Di Paola revealing: “He was doing his rehab, but it never really went anywhere as he was still having problems. He is waiting on a scan now, but we think he needs another operation.

“How long he will be out for is anyone’s guess. He is gone for this season and may not be back for the start of next season, depending on his progress.

“Mark Knee as well, he has a scan on February 16, but I do not think we will see him back this season either. It is such a shame as for him on a personal level. I feel for him as he is 40 now an one of our older players.

“He played a massive part with our promotion last season as was one of two or three that were real lynch pins of the side.

“It’s a shame as it could have been very different with him and Doddsy around this season as they are solid experienced players.”

As well as those injury problems, Di Paola has more stacking up with Darren Boswell and Jordan Clark out, as well as Tony Nwachukwu and Tom Lawley with knocks ahead of Saturday’s trip to Whyteleafe.

The aim for the rest of the season is to get everyone back and start looking again to retaining them for next season.

Di Paola said: “I’d like to keep a lot of the lads we have got now and build for next season. We know what we need to do to improve and I would like to take this team and see what we can do.

“I am far happier with the group, we have a good bunch of players and a good bunch of lads. They have grown as a team this year and I feel far happier with them as a group. They all seem in it together and most weeks they give us a good performance and their all, so we have to be pleased with that.”

One they hope will return in the summer is Ollie Gill, who has returned to Loxwood for the remainder of the season.

Di Paola added: “It’s a shame as Ollie has had a real lack of football over the past few years with injuries and set-backs.

“When he was on the bench he thought it was the end of world or if we tried to protect him a bit he took it as a snub when it wasn’t at all.

“I really like him and think he is a really good player and a great lad. Hopefully, it’s not the end and he is back in the summer fit and firing after a full pre-season, which he didn’t have.”