Dom Di Paola has reassured fans that the squad are no ‘shrinking violets’ ahead of our New Year’s Day derby at home to Lewes tomorrow.
The grudge match against our long-time rivals is set to be the second hotly-contested match in seven days for the Hornets, following our 3-0 defeat to Worthing on Boxing Day which saw a total of nine bookings shared between the two sides.
With the Hornets also seeing two players sent off, Di Paola assures fans that his side haven’t got a discipline problem and that they are just as ready to fight for the win tomorrow afternoon.
Dom said: “That’s the first time in 12 seasons that I’ve had two players sent off in a game so I don’t think we have a problem with discipline. When games are fiery I think we can handle ourselves.
“We’re not shrinking violets and if you look back at the Worthing game, there’s not actually too bad a challenge in there.
“There wasn’t a discipline issue in that game, we just lost our focus, and we allowed the referee to affect us, so our emotions went really high. I don’t think we’re that sort of team, they’re not those sort of players.”
The loss saw us fall four points back from the leading pair and we’ll be looking to return to winning ways against a team we’ve had success against in recent games.
None more so than back in August when, at a Dripping Pan baked in sunshine, goals from George Hayward and Joe Shelley saw us claim all three points in a memorable victory.
At that point in the season, Lewes were struggling down at the bottom of the table, but the Rooks have since found some steady form, currently residing in 16th.
The East Sussex outfit bring with them a new management duo following the departure of Darren Freeman earlier in the season. Ross Standen and Tony Coade have since taken over.
With both sides only recording two wins in their last six league games, Di Paola revealed what will be key in getting a good result.
He said: “The key for us is to draw a line under the Worthing game because that was always going to be a game which we could potentially lose. They’ll probably win the league.
“We just have to take the game on its own merits just like we have done with every other game and if we perform to our capabilities, that’s all I can ever ask for at the moment because we’re still punching above our weight.
“If we go on a ten game losing run, then we’re not, then it’s a different situation, but as long as we’re in that top eight or top ten, we really are punching above our weight.
“Look at teams like Haringey and Kingstonian, they were tipped for the title and we’re well above them both, so we’re doing okay.
“We don’t need to worry, we’ve just got to play our game the best we can, as that is what’s served us so well in the first half of the season.”
Following tomorrow’s game, we will be drawing our Christmas Raffle with lots of great prizes on offer. Tickets are still available and can be brought at any time at the ground, as long as it’s before the first prize has been drawn.
Anyone who has been given tickets to sell to their friends, family and work colleagues must return all ticket stubs, the exact money paid for them, and any unsold tickets you still have.
As we’re expecting a larger crowd than normal, we advise as many supporters as possible to travel by bus.
Metrobus are providing a special Sunday service for their 98 and 23 routes, which can be caught from Southwater, Horsham town centre, or the bus and train stations.
If you are travelling from Southwater, leave the bus at ‘Park & Ride’. If you are travelling from Horsham, please leave the bus at ‘Golf Club – for Horsham FC’.
Alternatively, supporters travelling by car are advised to park in the RSPCA car park (Wilberforce Way, Southwater, RH13 9RS) where a free and frequent shuttle bus service will take you to and from the ground.
If you are arriving early to watch the Premier League action between Brighton and Chelsea, from 12.30pm onwards, please park in the Hop Oast Park & Ride as usual.
If, for whatever reason, you can’t make tomorrow’s game, don’t worry, you can keep up to date and follow all the action over on our Twitter account @HorshamFC.
However, as this is our first ever competitive local derby at our new ground, we hope to see as many of you filling the stands and terraces as we can fit.
Lets toast the new year, and the new decade, as only we know how to do best: together.