O’Toole and Gaskin to lead Hornets attack as ten sign on
New addition Rob O’Toole will lead the line along with George Gaskin, who has committed to the Hornets full-time after a loan spell from Littlehampton last season.
Both have stepped up from the Southern Combination League with O’Toole playing under his brother Bryan at Shoreham where they narrowly missed out on the title.
They will be joined by the returning Tony Nwachukwu, captain Ash Jones, Adam Hunt, Darren Boswell, Scott Harris and Al Duncan, alongside youngsters Alfie Rogers and James Thurgar.
Hornets boss Dominic Di Paola is close to adding two brand-new additions and still waiting on ‘four or five’ members of last season’s squad.
He said: “It’s been relentless. I have really tried to hit the ground running and try and get a bit of a head start.
“To get a new strike force in is really good. I felt for our defence last year as they were playing well, but we weren’t creating chances and when we were, people were not getting on the end of them.
“To get Rob and George in should help that. Rob is good in the air and good with his feet and George is a goalscorer.
“Rob is a great player and has played at a lower level than he should have for the past two seasons; one in county two after he had a kid and last year for his brother so that is understandable.
“George needs to knuckle down, work hard and keep his head as everyone knows he will score goals. He is the type of player that, while he isn’t quite good enough for the Conference with his all-round game, give him a chance in the box at that level and he will score.
“Tone should be fully fit as well after a tough couple of seasons, so it’s if we can get the best out of him and Bozzy should also get 15 goals.
“I’ve agreed on another two players that I am really pleased about and we are nearly there then - with maybe a few more conversations to be had.”
Di Paola is aiming to start the season with a squad of 20 and thin that out to no less than 18, having learnt last year that strength in depth is key as they bid for a top-half finish.
He added: “Our biggest problem was a lack of depth. When we were fully fit and at it, we were a decent side, but when we had two or three missing we were nowhere near good enough.
“That was the massive thing I learnt and want to change this season.
“I am still waiting on four or five of last year’s team, after that I’m hoping to still make four more new signings, but if we do not get them, it is not the end of the world.
“Then I would be done and happy and wouldn’t be pressing to add anyone else. It’s then about getting the boys fit and gelling to try and chase that top half of the table.”
O’Toole, 26, who counts Burgess Hill Town amongst his former clubs, scored 36 goals in all competitions last season for the Mussels and helped his side finish runners up to eventual champions Haywards Heath – another of his former sides.
Gaskin meanwhile joins from Littlehampton, but is no stranger to Horsham fans having scored six goals for the club last season including a 15-minute hat-trick, having already scored a treble for then parent club Golds earlier that day.
Fellow attacker Boswell signs on for his third season and homegrown talent Nwachukwu will be re-signing along with Rogers to complete a bolstered attacking line-up.
Utility man Hunt will be looking to put an injury-hit season behind him, while experienced Jones and Duncan will again form part of the trusty back line.