Dom Di Paola has asked supporters to be ‘mindful of their expectations’ ahead of our hotly anticipated top-of-the-table clash at Folkestone Invicta this weekend.
Invicta moved above the Hornets into top spot on Tuesday night following a 1-1 draw with Kingstonian, meaning Horsham will be heading into the fixture in second for the first time in over a month.
Folkestone could become the first side to do the double over us this season, having come out on top in a narrow 1-0 win in our last meeting back in August.
However, Dom wants supporters to be cautious with their expectations ahead of potentially another tough outing.
He said: “Everyone seems to think that where we are in the table is where we should be. We’re not at that level yet so we just have to keep grinding and working hard and know that we’re going to lose games of football, as teams do.
“Expectations are a dangerous thing as people start to forget where we’ve come from and where we were four seasons ago. We’ve just got to enjoy the good days, draw a line under the not so good days and just not get expectations up.
“I always use Man City as the best example because they’re an unbelievable team and they still drop points so if they can drop points then ordinary teams can.”
Chris Smith’s agonising added-time penalty miss in August’s loss to the Kent side was our first of the season, and first competitive loss at our new ground.
Asked whether he will be seeking revenge for that result, Dom revealed he won’t be approaching it in that way.
He said: “They’re a good team, established in this league now, and they’re at home, so we’ll always do our best.
“I haven’t really thought about it, in terms of the previous game. We’re just going there to try and do ourselves justice but it’s another tough game against a team that has got real ambitions to go up.
“But even in defeats we have delivered. We’ve not had too many bad games where we feel like we’ve been let down. Our boys will always give everything, and we’ll see how we go.”
Saturday’s game marks the start of a tough run of fixtures with East Thurrock United, Worthing and Hornchurch, all teams hovering in and around the play-offs, our opponents in three of our next four league games.
However, Dom isn’t looking too far ahead. He added: “Everyone is getting too excited about how well we’ve done.
“We just have to try and manage that because people are going to start silly things like ‘oh we should be beating teams from mid-table’ and, well, should we? If we’ve just come up via the play-offs with a bottom eight budget?
“Our initial target this year was safety and if we can get to a points total, around the 50-point mark then we can cross that one off and see if we can target mid-table and then maybe we can look further up but genuinely I’ve not thought further than that.”
He continued: “We’re up against teams that have people who have won this league, or are really established at this level, so every week is a test for us in how we deal with it.
“It’s really important that we should embrace this season for what it is because next year could be very different, we could struggle. Even this year we might tail off a little bit, but we’ve had some top-of-the-table clashes and who would have thought that at the start of the season.”
There are limited coach spaces still available for this much-anticipated clash and we would love to see as many of you there as possible.
Leaving Hop Oast Park & Ride at 11.15am, tickets cost just £13, so book by either emailing email@example.com or calling 01403 458854.
As usual, if you can’t make the journey, you can keep up to date with tomorrow’s game by following our Twitter page @HorshamFC.