We’re craving competitive football and can’t wait to get the season started - that’s the message from the Horsham camp as they enter the final tuning stage of pre-season.
The Hornets have one game left in their friendly fixtures and a number of training sessions ahead of the Bostik League South East Division kick-off a week on Saturday.
They spent the weekend down in Cornwall on a team-bonding trip that doubled up with a pre-season game against AFC Newquay.
Dominic Di Paola’s side eased to a 6-0 success, with all the goals coming in the first half from Will Hoare, Lee Harding and braces from George Landais and Rob O’Toole.
They followed this up with a 1-1 draw at Hassocks on Tuesday night where O’Toole struck his sixth goal of pre-season, before an own goal, coming against the run of play, saw the spoils shared.
Horsham travel to Tooting & Mitcham on Saturday, before kicking off the competitive season at home to Sittingbourne on August 11.
Di Paola feels his side are both ready and eager for the season to get underway now, saying: “I think we are just keen to get going now.
“With pre-season, you get the initial excitement of coming back to the first few sessions and then games, but you are soon ready for competitive football as sometimes it feels pre-season goes on forever.
“There have been positives and negatives in and amongst the games, but there is just a general feeling now to get going.
“We have a final game Saturday and a few training sessions to go. We have tried pre-season all different ways down the years. Last year we had four or five sessions before the season started and not so many games, perhaps then you are not football sharp. It’s a hard one to gauge, but we feel ready.”
Di Paola admitted Saturday’s win at Newquay was a bit of a miss-match, but believed they took a lot from working on styles of play in the second half.
On Tuesday’s draw at Hassocks, the manager added: “It was the most off it we have been in pre-season, but I think the boys are craving competitive football.
“There are all different types of attitudes towards pre-season, some turn-up and play whatever, others find it hard to get up for the friendly games - I hated pre-season myself when I played. I just couldn’t get up for the games.” Squad wise, with last week’s expected addition of Tyrell Richardson-Brown, things are almost complete.
The Hornets are still yet to announce their goalkeeper this season, but Brannon Daly is expected to take on the role after continuing to feature between the sticks in pre-season.