Hornets’ face toughest test so far at Walton Casuals’ new ground

Horsham FC. Dominic di Paola. Pic Steve Robards SR1720465 SUS-170829-111234001
Horsham FC. Dominic di Paola. Pic Steve Robards SR1720465 SUS-170829-111234001

Horsham face probably the toughest test of their season so far when they travel to Bostik League South Division leaders Walton Casuals.

They go there in good form, following a 6-0 thrashing of Ashford United in the FA Cup first qualifying round last weekend.

The Hornets will be the first team to play at Walton’s new stadium at the Elmbridge Sports Hub in Walton-On-Thames.

The £20million ground will be opening on the day which will mean Casuals, who lost in the FA Cup to Herne Bay on Saturday, will be highly-motivated to clinch victory.

One player who will not be playing for Horsham is former Portsmouth youth central midfielder Scott Harris, who has gone out on loan to Loxwood.

Manager Dominic Di Paola explained: “Scott has gone out on loan to Loxwood to get game-time for a spell - he turned his ankle while out running and missed a lot of pre-season.

“We are in a difficult situation with no reserve team, no A team and no under-18s, so when a player comes back from injury there is no way of getting match-fit except by playing.

“In this league you have to be fit and on-it from the start or else or else you will get punished.

“It makes sense for him to get some minutes. He’s a good lad and a really good player, he played 35 games for us last season and we need him back here, I hope he gets fit.

“It’s for no defined period of time, we will just see how it goes. Others who are injured may also have to go out.

“Walton are going to be a strong side and the fact this is their first-ever game in their new stadium means they will be even more desperate to win.”

Di Paola revealed he will be receiving information about the team but does not put too much importance on knowing the opponents beforehand.

He said: “It’s more about us being ready - after all we knew a lot about Thamesmead but lost 5-0.”

Di Paola is not looking to add further to the squad, having just made three new signings in Charlie Oatway. Michael Waller and Jack Newhouse (both Worthing).

Horsham will be without Matt Axell and Asa Nicholson.