Hugo outlines long-term youth plan for Horsham

JPCT-21-01-12 S12040680a  FOOTBALL: Horsham v Hendon at Gorings Mead -photo by steve cobb
JPCT-21-01-12 S12040680a FOOTBALL: Horsham v Hendon at Gorings Mead -photo by steve cobb

HUGO Langton insists he is in it for the long haul at Horsham Football Club and outlined his plans to make youth development at the heart of the club.

The Hornets boss says he and his players still haven’t given up on a miraculous escape from relegation despite the side’s perilous position at the foot of the table, but even relegation won’t change what he believes is an exciting future for the club.

“Anyone who has half a brain can see from the table how tough it will be (to stay up), but we are where we are and we have to accept that,” Langton said.

“But I look around my dressing room and the spirit is not that of a side at the bottom of the table, they still believe and they will never throw the towel in, they’ll keep fighting for the club.

“I’m not being foolish, I know what our situation is. It really dawned on me how hard the job I’d taken on was going to be when we lost to Littlehampton, and I made the decision then to move on a lot of the players and bring in young players who were hungry to play in the Ryman League and who I really believe long term will be brilliant for this club.

“Me and (assistant) Craig Wilkins don’t want to just be here until the end of the season, we’re committed to rebuilding this club and putting it on a safe footing for when we move into our new ground.”

Langton is still seeking his first league win since taking over from Justin Luchford at the end of October with the club already deep in the mire. Yet his enthusiasm in the face of adversity has seen the Horsham fans warm to him far more than his doomed predecessor.

Langton is excited by young talents such as Adam Hutchings and Dean O’Keefe coming through the ranks, and as a highly qualified UEFA A Licensed coach who runs his own elite academy in Kent he wants to use his vast experience to turn Horsham into one of the best producers of top young talents in the county.

“I have very strong views on youth development and I want to implement them at Horsham,” he said. “(Youth manager) Ivan Raby does a fantastic job and I want to work alongside him. He will have his views and we will need to formulate a proper plan going forward because I want to see young players at the heart of this football club.

“So if I need a striker I don’t have to look elsewhere but have players in the Under-18s and Under-16s pushing the first team for places. I truly believe we have the chance to build something really exciting here. I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead but I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t prepared to do it.”

Horsham chief executive John Lines welcomed Langton’s long-term commitment to the club adding: “The team spirit is excellent and that’s mainly down to Hugo’s abilities as a coach.”

Langton is still waiting to hear back on his appeal following his sending off in the defeat against Lowestoft, but is hopeful the FA will do ‘the right thing’.

There was unhappy news on Ken Westoby’s injury, as a scan revealed the goalkeeper had torn his cruciate ligament in his knee in the cup win at Southwick and would miss the rest of the season. Langton said he was ‘gutted’ for the player, who has been the understudy to Michael Hunter, but would not need to find a replacement with Calum McGeehan able to play in goal.

Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at home to Hendon leaves The Hornets 12 points off safety. This weekend they travel to mid-table Concord Rangers, who have beaten Bury Town and Kingstonian in their last two games, and Langton has highlighted the threat of forward Tony Stokes, who has netted 13 Ryman League goals.

Williams Pearoux returns after his one-game suspension and Langton hopes to have Tony Nwachukwu available after a hamstring injury. Jake Jacobs may miss out due to personaly reasons, if he does striker O’Keefe will again be on the bench. Finally Horsham have been drawn away at Pagham in the second round of the Brighton Charity Cup. with the date provisionally set for Tuesday February 7.