AN EX Napoli Reserve player, a former Benin international who has played in the Africa Cup of Nations and a former Braga centre back were among those who turned out for a specially arranged Horsham FC trial game on Tuesday.
New Hornets boss Hugo Langton organised the match, which saw prospective players take on youngsters from his North Kent Academy, and describing it as a ‘mixed bag’ he said it was a success.
“It was interesting, a mixed bag as you can imagine,” Langton said. “I found myself two young players who are not quite ready for Horsham just yet but in the long-term I’m sure will be.”
One is a central midfielder who plays the league below, the Ryman South and the other is a left back who is “way too good for the County League” where he currently plays. Langton said although they would not yet break into his team he would be “keeping a close eye on them” for the future.
“We also had four lads with incredible experience, lads who have been at Napoli, Braga and a lad who played in the Africa Cup of Nations for Benin,” he said. “We also had a lad who had been the subject of a £2.5m bit from a Premier League Club.
“But I had to be realistic and say yes they could come into our team and improve it but within two or three weeks my phone would be ringing with seven-day approaches for them all from clubs who could pay them so it doesn’t make sense bringing them in.
“I don’t want players for a few weeks I want players for the long-term so I’ve recommended them for other clubs. One may end up playing for us but he will have to make a commitment.”
As for the new faces who turned out in the Sussex Senior Cup win over Horsham YMCA, discussions are ongoing. Experienced defender Ian Varley, who particularly impressed, is weighing up other commitments as he manages Gillingham Ladies, also runs a football academy and lives in Maidstone.
Forward Liam Wright has joined but will go out on loan with another, as yet unnamed player to get up to match fitness, while the highly experienced Chris Wilkins is another Langton is hopeful of getting on board in a player and coaching role.
Delando Smith has also been brought back to the club but is waiting for the relevant paperwork to go through.
This Saturday is Langton’s first league game in charge and sees Horsham travel to Hastings, themselves struggling at the wrong end of the table.
Tony Nwachukwu hobbled off late on Tuesday but his injury is not serious and he is expected to play, while Calum McGeehan could continue upfront after his goal in the game.
Langton said: “I can’t wait for Saturday and all the players are looking forward to going up to Hastings and having a right go.
“I will sit down with Richard (Langley, assistant) and decide the personnel and formation but I want the boys to get the ball down and play like they did on Tuesday night and keep playing with a smile on their faces.”