Horsham manager runs the rule over quartet of new signings

Josh James during his first spell at Horsham. Picture by Steve Robards
Josh James during his first spell at Horsham. Picture by Steve Robards

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola extolled the virtues of the club's four new signings after their announcement last week.

Forward Zack Newton joined from National League South-outfit Welling United while midfielders Jared Rance and Lea Dawson signed from BetVictor South East-sides Burgess Hill Town and Cray Valley Paper Mills.

Zack Newton celebrates a goal for Worthing. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Zack Newton celebrates a goal for Worthing. Picture by Stephen Goodger

Goalkeeper Josh James, also acquired from Burgess Hill Town, has rejoined the Hornets for a second spell at the club.

Dawson had been on the Hornets' radar for a number of months, with Di Paola revealing the club had tried to approach the midfielder last season.

But Horsham now have their man and the Hornets boss believes the players mentality will benefit the club in the BetVictor Premier Division.

Di Paola said: "We put a seven-dayer in with Ashford United for Lea last October and had a long chat with him during last season. Then he left Ashford to go to Cray Valley but they were on a FA Vase run.

"We had another really good chat then but it just wasn’t right for him. In the summer he just wanted a go with us.

"He’s a winner and he’s a very talented footballer so I think he’ll give us something we need going into that league."

After the departure of last season's number one Josh Pelling, Di Paola admitted that his 'first thought was Josh James' to replace him.

The Horsham manager also disclosed that 'problems' within the club at the time lead to James leaving after just three months in 2017.

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Di Paola added: "When Josh (Pelling) stepped away my first thought was Josh James. He’s a good experienced keeper, who’s played a lot of games, and is still young.

"I tried to sign him three times down the years and he signed with us on the fourth attempt and it didn’t work out.

"We had a lot of problems at the time and I don’t think he particularly enjoyed his spell."

Newton has been branded a 'high-profile' acquisition for Horsham despite the striker 'looking for a fresh start' following a difficult time at Welling United.

The 23-year-old netted 11 goals in 20 matches for Worthing in 2017/18 leading Welling to sign him in May 2018. However the forward struggled, failing to score in nine for the Kent-based club before being loaned out for the remainder of the 2018/19 campaign.

Di Paola continued: "Zack is a high-profile signing for us. I’m pleased he’s in. He’s very mobile and very quick.

"He did well with Worthing but I think last year was a bit of a dead loss for him. I think he’s probably looking for a fresh start.

"He went to Welling and probably didn’t play enough. He then went on loan to Walton Casuals, and then to Worthing again but none of it quite worked out."

Midfielder Rance has also been called 'one for the future' after his whirlwind 12-month journey from SCFL football to the BetVictor Premier Division.

Di Paola said: "Jazz (Rance) is another quick, young player. He’s one I think will improve with experience. He’s only really had about a year at this level.

"Before that he was playing County League level so I think he’s potentially one for the future."