With a new captain, coach and manager back at the helm it’s all change ahead of a hectic start to 2018 for Horsham.
The likes of Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp regularly bemoan the problems caused by the fixtures schedule over the festive season. Now Horsham hockey’s new player-coach, Andrew Isaacs, is faced with four fixtures in the space of nine days, all to be played away from home.
With most of the team having been on a break since early December, and currently second-from bottom in South Premier Division 1, the squad face an early 2018 baptism by fire.
This Saturday sees the indoor squad attempt to progress up the national rankings in a tournament at Canterbury and Tuesday 9, sees the team travel to Eastbourne to try and retain the Sussex Cup for a third consecutive season.
The following weekend sees a scheduled fixture against Indian Gymkhana on Saturday, followed on Sunday by a rescheduling of the postponed pre-Christmas match against Oxford Hawks.
Both coach Isaacs and returning manager Al Campbell are looking at the intensity as an opportunity for the team to bond and hit the ground running in their campaign to retain a spot in the third tier of English hockey.
“The boys had a rough ride in the run up to the Christmas break, narrowly losing points they should really have won,” said Campbell.
“Whichever way you look at it, the coming 12 league fixtures are going to be tough and, when you take training into account, these first two weeks of 2018 are going to hurt. But to hope to succeed the team have to show they can go through the pain barrier.”
Since the departure of previous coach Titch Hanspal, and Isaacs’ move to replace him, the squad have been without a captain. The management team have asked Dan Humphries to take the arm-band for the remainder of the season.
“Dan came through the Horsham Academy, is a long time-served member of the squad, and is now one of the senior players in this league,” Isaacs commented.
“He reads the game well from his role in central defence and can progress to even greater things.”