Hornets hope to stave off player interest with planning underway

Football - Ryman League South Division: Horsham v Faversham. Goal for Horsham about 4.14pm Pic Steve Robards  SR1633402 SUS-160711-120036001
Football - Ryman League South Division: Horsham v Faversham. Goal for Horsham about 4.14pm Pic Steve Robards SR1633402 SUS-160711-120036001

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola has already turned his focus to next season and is hoping he can stave off local interest and keep his current crop of players together.

The Hornets have just three games left this season in which they have made a hugely-successful return to the Ryman League.

Football - Ryman League South Division: Horsham v Faversham. Goal for Horsham about 4.14pm Pic Steve Robards  SR1633402 SUS-160711-120036001

Football - Ryman League South Division: Horsham v Faversham. Goal for Horsham about 4.14pm Pic Steve Robards SR1633402 SUS-160711-120036001

A top-half finish is still within their grasp, but Di Paola is already looking ahead to the 2017/18 campaign.

The boss is hoping to keep his current side together, but with at least two Sussex teams stepping into the South Division next season, he, as always, is expecting a summer merry-go-round.

But having bonded as a team in the second half of this season, Di Paola does have some optimism of retaining players’ services.

He said: “Either Haywards Heath or Shoreham will be coming up and Crowborough Athletic are coming up and they are all local sides to us. From what I hear from players, Haywards Heath have got a few quid as well.

“But I think the boys have enjoyed this year, but it’s just who will come in for them for them in the summer? I’m not silly enough to think people haven’t already had calls from managers.

“It is always a problem, but you just have to wait and see what happens. We all get on really well now, the first half of the season we did not have a great atmosphere, which is unusual for a side of ours, but there is a much better bond and team spirit now.

“Earlier in the season it was a new team and just a bunch of blokes that didn’t know each other turning up to play. Our form in the second half or the season is top nine, which is good going - it was 17th in the first half.

“It would be nice to keep people and this group together and then strengthen it, but you never know at this level as there are no contracts. It’s hard to start planning when you don’t know what is going to happen.”

The Horsham management team have always signed a similar group of players, but this season has seen them add more than before to that group.

Di Paola believes that has benefited them and added: “There is lots of stuff we have learnt, but one of them is that it doesn’t matter who leaves a team, it is not the end of the world. You may think it is at the time, but there are always people who want to come and play football.

“In the past, we have maybe been reliant on some players, so we have learnt that - although I do hope they do not all leave.”