Table-topping Horsham urged to 'keep their feet on the ground'

Horsham FC. Picture by Steve Robards
Horsham FC. Picture by Steve Robards

Dominic Di Paola wants Horsham to ‘keep their feet on the ground and not get too excited’ after the Hornets moved top of the BetVictor Premier Division – the highest league position in the club’s 138-year history.

Saturday’s 1-0 home win over then-leaders Hornchurch saw the Hornets leapfrog the Urchins into first on goal difference ahead of Folkestone Invicta.

Tuesday night’s enthralling 2-2 home draw against ten-man Carshalton Athletic moved Horsham a point clear of Invicta, although the Hornets have played a game more.

Topping the Premier Division has seen the club complete a remarkable rise during Di Paola’s tenure.

When Di Paola took charge in 2015, Horsham had just been relegated from the Isthmian League South to the County League.

But two promotions in four years have propelled the Hornets back to the Premier Division.

Despite this unbelievable achievement Di Paola was quick to ‘temper some of the excitement’. The Horsham manager wanted new supporters to know the Hornets weren’t ‘always going to have things going their way’ but was quick to praise the ‘positivity’ and ‘hard work’ emanating throughout the club.

He said: “There’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes. Our management team have been brilliant and so have the players.

“They’ve worked hard to get us back to the level that the club want to be at.

“But I think we need to temper some of the excitement. We’ve just got to keep our feet on the ground and not get too excited.

“All we’re trying to do is get points on the board and keep growing what we’re doing here.

“There’s positivity from the supporters on the sidelines. I know our long-suffering supporters will not get too excited.

“We’ve got a lot of new support in less than a year. We’re going to have a bad spell but the supporters are clever enough to understand that.

“We’re not always going to have things going our way. We just need to get through these periods as quickly as possible and get back on track.”

READ MORE Horsham boss Di Paola pays tribute to the management 'collective' after league award | 'No time to experiment' as Loxwood gear up for Peter Bentley Cup | SCFL Premier Division picture special - Steyning Town v Broadbridge Heath & Eastbourne United v Alfold
Saturday sees Horsham visit a Bishop’s Stortford side who have faltered after a bright start.

The Blues picked up three wins from the opening five games but have since failed to register a victory and have dropped to 18th.

Manager Adam Flint resigned in September and evergreen forward Jamie Cureton and club owner Steve Smith have taken interim charge. Di Paola said: “They had a really good start but they’ve had a little bit of a funny spell.

“They’ve got Shomari Barnwell. We’ve played against him a few times and he’s a powerful centre forward that plays up front with Jamie Cureton.

“They were there or thereabouts last year so it’ll be another tough game.

“We’re really enjoying these games but what we need to do, after a couple of tough games, is to regroup a little bit.”

Horsham will be missing one player for Saturday’s trip to Hertfordshire.

But a returning club legend has declared himself available, although Di Paola wanted ‘to make sure he’s absolutely right’.

He added: “I think Will (Miles) is the only one definitely missing. He needs a few more weeks.

“Gary (Charman)’s declared himself available. It was good to have him on the bench (against Carshalton).

“We needed some cover at the back. There wasn’t a huge temptation to bring him on because I want to make sure he’s absolutely right.”