Dom Di Paola believes ‘matches don’t come much tougher’ ahead of this Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash against Hornchurch.

After Tuesday night’s dramatic late 2-1 win over Corinthian-Casuals, the Hornets have risen up to second in our first Premier Division season for eight years.

That year, we only managed three league victories in the entire campaign. This time round, we have already doubled that tally after just nine games.

It’s another extraordinary achievement in a rapidly growing list in the Di Paola era and it sees us pit our credentials against league leaders, and hotly-tipped promotion contenders, Hornchuch, at The Camping World Community Stadium this Saturday.

With safety appropriately deemed to be priority, few would have believed, or even expected, us to be fighting for top spot at any point this year, let alone in October.

Yet, this is exactly where we’ll be aiming as soon as the whistle is blown at 3pm. Saturday’s match-up will see the victors move top, or, in our visitors’ case, cement their perch.

Despite the unbelievable start, Dom is warning players and fans alike to remain grounded. He said: “We’re now seeing teams setting up to try to stop us from playing, which is a great compliment.

“This month should show us how good we actually are, though. We’ve only played two of the top teams so far but have a lot of tough games coming up so it will be interesting to see how we fare.

“Matches don’t come much tougher than Hornchurch because they are one of three teams who should be challenging for the title. They’ve got quality everywhere and currently have the division’s best goals for and against tally so it will be a good marker for us.”

He added: “We want to put as many points on the board as we can, as quickly as possible, so we can enjoy the rest of the season.

“One of the biggest challenges is keeping the squad together because every single player deserves to be starting but that’s obviously not possible and that’s something we have to deal with.”

The manager’s comments come after it was announced earlier in the week that ‘keeper Josh James left the club to pursue a starting place at former club Burgess Hill Town.

Dom said: “We’ve agreed to let Josh James go this week as he just can’t get in the side because of the form George (Bentley) is in.

“It’s unfortunate for him because he missed the opening match and George has done really well in his place and, to be fair to Josh, he’s never complained. But he needs to be playing regularly so he’s gone back to Burgess Hill.”

The Hornets have not faced Saturday’s opponents since 2012 where we suffered a 3-0 home defeat and if their hot form this season is anything to go by (seven wins, one draw, one defeat), then we will have to work harder than ever to pull-off another win.

On top of the main event, tomorrow begins with a bumper sports programme with the ground opening from 9am allowing supporters to watch England take on Argentina in the Rugby World Cup from 9:15.

A first-ever matchday breakfast will be served from 9:30 while we will also be showing the early Premier League kick-off between Brighton & Hove Albion and Tottenham Hotspur from 12:30pm.

Supporters should make use of a limited offer where all drinks bought during the first half (12:30-1:45pm) will be 20% off.

Supporters should also park in the park & ride car park opposite the ground where our trained stewards will help you across Worthing Road.

Admission is Β£11 for Adults, Β£6 for seniors/students/U18s and Β£2 for U16s.

Those unable to make the game can keep up to date via our Facebook and Twitter pages, and those at the game can get involved by posting a photo inside the ground with the hashtag “#HorshamFC”.


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