Haywards Heath Town will go into Horsham clash as 'underdogs' says Saunders

The celebrations as Heath beat Horsham in August. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj
The celebrations as Heath beat Horsham in August. Picture by Grahame Lehkyj

Haywards Heath manager Shaun Saunders is expecting an open and exciting game this weekend when his side host second placed Horsham at Hanbury Park in a mouthwatering clash at the top of Bostik League South East Division.

The Blues have only lost one of their past 12 games in all competitions and they also came out on top in this season’s previous league meeting with Horsham as they triumphed 5-4 in a thrilling game in August.

Horsham have also been victorious in this fixture already this season, as they ran out 5-2 winners at Hanbury Park in the preliminary round of the Velocity Trophy.

Another win for Saunders’ men on Saturday could send them joint second with Saturday’s opponents and fellow pacesetters Hastings Town, who do not play this weekend.

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Ahead of the game, Saunders’ was keen to praise his players work ethic and attitude. He said: “The players have worked religiously week in week out and the results are showing that this season and reflecting the players good work.”

Despite the team’s good run, Saunders wants his side to avoid making a sluggish start, after they found themselves 3-0 down to Horsham after 16 minutes in the reverse fixture, before eventually turning the game on its head in spectacular style.

A stoppage-time winner from Lewis Finney was enough to earn Haywards Heath the three points that afternoon, but Saunders will be keen to eradicate the defensive frailties his team showed that night.

He said: “We need to start quicker, I expect it to be an open game and one that we’ll enjoy being a part of.”

Horsham also come into the game in impressive league form, having won their last three of their last four games, scoring 13 goals in those matches.

They ran out 4-2 winners against Cray Wanderers at Culver Road last time out, with Rob O’Toole scoring an impressive hat-trick.

Saunders is looking forward to taking on his Horsham counterpart Dominic Di Paola once again, as both sides continue to battle it out for top spot.

He said “There are some good sides with real quality in this division. I’m really looking forward to locking horns, we’re on the crest of a wave at the moment and we want to keep that going.”

Saunders also expects to have a strong squad for the visit of Horsham, with no new major injuries to report. He said: “We’ll certainly be going in full strength. I’m really pleased with the squad for the upcoming games.”

Despite their close proximity to each other in the league, Saunders also reiterated that his team must not get too far ahead of themselves. He said: “We’ll be going into it as underdogs, but we’ve not been turned over by anyone this year and we’ll looking to give another good account of ourselves on Saturday.”