Di Paola issues rallying cry ahead of historic Horsham opener

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola (centre). Picture by Derek Martin Photography
Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola (centre). Picture by Derek Martin Photography

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola has issued a rallying message to the town’s residents ahead of the Hornets’ first BetVictor Premier Division season in seven years.

The club are set to welcome supporters to The Camping World Community Stadium on Saturday for the first competitive game at their new home.

The match against Leatherhead will be the first league fixture held inside their own ground since 2008.

Di Paola said: “Be the support you (the town) can be and buy into it. Bring your friends and families because it’s a fun place to be.

“Non-league football is great and it’s not a bad day out for a tenner. It can be a pretty fun thing to be involved in.”

Di Paola hopes the buzz already surrounding the club’s return to the town will inspire his side to a greater level.

He added: “I hope that supporters come out in their numbers. We want as many people as possible to come down and support the club because it massively lifts the players and makes a huge difference in their performance.”

Horsham head into an historic season having won five of their eight pre-season matches, including an impressive victory over League Two side Crawley Town.

The Hornets were beaten just once, by Eastbourne Town, while 2-2 draws against Wimborne Town and East Grinstead Town rounded off their pre-season campaign.

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However, Di Paola appeared unfazed with how their pre-season had gone. He said: “I think it’s been a bit up and down, there’s been some good spells and some bad spells in games.

“It’s been a little bit disjointed as we’ve had a few injury problems, but it has got minutes in everyone’s legs.

“It’s just nice to have gotten through it all as now we can concentrate on the proper football.”

After earning promotion via the play-offs last season the Hornets have been preparing for an even bigger test this year, playing in a higher division. And Di Paola was honest on his aims for the season.

He said: “It’s going to be really tough; the standard is very strong. There aren’t any games you can pencil in as those where we should pick up points.

“It’ll be really hard every week, so we need to be on it all the time, and try and get a foothold in the league.

“First priority is safety. Anything more than that, I’ll be over the moon.

“We fully expect it to be a period of adjustment, with us getting to grips with the level.”

Because of an expected large crowd, supporters heading to the game are advised to park at the RSPCA car park, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, RH13 9RS.