Darren Budds of May and 13 more - Hornets get their summer business done early

Darren Budd in action for Bognor last season. Picture by Tim Hale
Darren Budd in action for Bognor last season. Picture by Tim Hale

Horsham’s summer business is almost complete at the start of June after having made another four signings in the past week.

Experienced midfielder Darren Budd has joined from Bognor, Matt Axell has committed to the club and Lewis Hyde and Scott Kirkwood will be rejoining.

Matt Axell playing for Worthing last season

Matt Axell playing for Worthing last season

That took the Hornets’ May signings up to a total of 14 with two more expected to be announced by the end of the week - thought to be Tom Lawley and Steve Metcalf.

Hornets manager Dominic Di Paola is yet to have a goalkeeper on board with Josh Pelling returning to his hometown club Hastings.

More good news is that Mark Knee - after missing the whole of last season though injury - is set to test his fitness in pre-season.

Terry Dodd, however, will have his knee operation in August and is expected to have a long recovery ahead of him.

Di Paola said: “We are pretty happy and almost there. A couple more should be sorted soon and we are not far off then, by the end of the week, really.

“It will be pretty nice for everything to be done, as long as there are no changes of course, which can often happen, but then we can go into pre-season in good shape.

“I am pretty pleased so far. We have kept a good group from last year, that we had at the end and keeping most of them has been positive.

“I have signed a lot of good lads and good players and I am far happier this summer than I was last summer.”

Latest new addition Budd, who last played for Horsham under John Maggs, helped Bognor to promotion into the National League South last season.

And Di Paola has been a long-time admirer of the 32-year-old, he said: “He has been one of my favourite players for the last ten years.

“He has got desire, fitness and energy and gets in amongst the opposition - he has got the lot.

“Hopefully, he will give us a bit more oomph that we need week in, week out. He will bring a lot to the squad and knows a lot of the boys.”

On the recaptures of Hyde, Kirkwood and Axell - who had a short loan spell from Worthing last season - Di Paola added: “Lewis was a really, really good signing for us last year.

“Kirky can have an even better season with a full pre-season in him, he didn’t last year, so in that respect he can do a lot more.

“I have always been a big fan of Matt, I tried to sign him last year, but he wanted to stay at Worthing.

“He’s a good all-round footballer, he chases the ball, is a good passer and plays to his strengths.”

From last season, Jordan Clark is currently travelling in Australia and George Branford’s plans are unknown.

Di Paola added: “It’s at the stage now where I may draw a line under a couple, a couple might stay, but we are almost there with the current squad.”