Horsham boss expects a ‘challenge’ at struggling Merstham
Dominic Di Paola insisted this Saturday’s BetVictor Isthmian Premier Division clash away to Merstham will be a ‘challenge’ and that the struggling Moatsiders will be ‘fighting for their lives’.
After suffering a 2-0 defeat to Tonbridge Angels in last season’s play-off final, Merstham have found this season a far tougher affair, winning just four of their 25 games so far.
The Surrey side are currently sat in 20th with just 15 points and look set to be stuck in a relegation dogfight in the second half of the season.
Last Saturday saw them hit by their biggest defeat of the season as they were demolished 6-1 by league leaders Worthing.
Now two points clear at the top, after Folkestone Invicta’s slip-up against mid-table Haringey Borough, Worthing are firmly on course for promotion to the National League South for the first time in their history.
With the Mackerel Men also on an unbeaten run stretching back to the beginning of October, Di Paola admitted they are the team to beat.
He said: “Worthing are flying at the moment. Worthing are the team that everything is going for.
“You have those spells in the season. We had 12 games where everything was going for us and now Worthing are that team.”
Di Paola also shook off any hopes that Horsham could replicate the result of their Sussex rivals. He added: “I’m not really looking too much into that. At home, Merstham are a different opposition.
“We’ll also have to be mindful of how much rain we get this week as that could affect the game.
“It’s going to be a tough surface but we’ll go up their with the same mindset that we always have.”
He continued: “We saw on Saturday that Corinthian-Casuals were desperate for points and they’re a team that all of a sudden people think we should be hammering.
“Last season Casuals were a comfortable mid-table team and they were a really successful team in our league a couple of seasons ago.
“It’s going to be a challenge, Merstham are fighting for their lives and their manager is desperate to pick up some points.
“But our boys are up for it and I’m sure we’ll give a good performance.”