Dominic Di Paola is aiming for Horsham to be ‘considered part of the furniture’ in the BetVictor Premier Divison but wanted Hornets supporters to temper expectations for the 2019/20 season.
The last 12 months has seen Horsham move in to The Camping World Community Stadium, marking the club’s permanent return to the town after 12 years away, and gain promotion to step 3 for the first time since 2012.
With expectations raised after success on the pitch in 2018/19 and the club now buoyed by a new ground, Di Paola admitted that supporters who think Horsham will immediately adjust to their new level will be ‘in for a shock’.
He said: “It’s going to be really tough. Anyone who thinks we’re going to step up and be comfortable from day one is in for a shock.
“I think when we came out of the county league into the what was then the Ryman South it was the same problem.
“It’s a big jump and we as a club have been miles off the prem for a long time, so it’s going to take some bedding in.
“The key is probably not to panic and try to get a foothold at the level and go from there.
“We’ve got some experience of going into leagues now. I’m relatively low-key on the start and I fully expect a bit of a shock.”
Despite this Di Paola admitted that the challenge of establishing Horsham as a BetVictor Premier side is something they’re ‘going to enjoy and relish’.
He added: “In the last couple of seasons we were trying to establish ourselves as a Ryman club after some horrendous years.
“We managed to do that but the next challenge now is to re-establish ourselves at this level.
“It would be nice to be considered as part of the furniture at this level.
“We’ve improved in the summer but it’s going to be a huge challenge. It’s definitely something we’re going to enjoy and relish.”
Horsham kicked off their pre-season with a 4-3 win at Steyning Town on Tuesday.
The Hornets host the Southern League’s Hartley Wintney on Saturday (3pm) in their first-ever game at their new ground.