Horsham have been dealt a blow by the exit of ‘one of the league’s best’ goalkeepers, but have already been working on Josh Pelling’s replacement.
The shot stopper has re-signed for his hometown club and Ryman League South Division rivals Hastings United.
Pelling was a stand-out performer for the Hornets last season - scooping all three of the supporters’ player, players’ player and manager’s player awards - having joined the club in the summer after missing the back end of the previous season through injury.
Boss Dominic Di Paola was aware that the club’s number one was set to leave and has wished him the best for the future, all the while trying to find his successor.
He said: “It’s one of those that we expected, but it’s a loss and he has been a good player and been very good for us. We were aware of it and expected it, because of that we have put a few things in place.
“He goes with our best wishes, he was great for us and a really well-liked player. It’s a shame.
“We never seem to keep keepers long, but it is a specialist position. Gareth Williams came in and it did not work out and when we got Josh it was a bit harsh on James Shaw as he did not do a lot wrong, but Josh is one of the best in this league.”
Horsham moving out of the town this year as a result of their groundshare ending at Gorings Mead has also played its part.
While Culver Road has proved attractive to some new Lancing-based players, it has worked the other way for Pelling.
Di Paola added: “The travel down to Lancing is significant and although it is the same at Hastings, he has family down there so will probably stay down there, that was probably the main factor.
“The trouble is moving out of Horsham has also made it a bit tricky and I think Pells (Pelling) wanted to stay, but with his connection with Hastings that also worked.”