‘If there is one word for me next season it is consistency’ - that’s the view of Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola on the eve of the new season.
The Hornets get their new Bostik League South Division campaign underway on Saturday and they are aiming to improve on last season’s 16th-place finish.
They visit Molesey on Saturday, before hosting local rivals and newly-promoted Shoreham on Tuesday night at their new temporary home, Culver Road in Lancing.
It should be Horsham’s final year without a home; a burden of the last 10 years where they have groundshared since leaving Queen Street in 2008, but before that Di Paola is looking for some consistency on the pitch.
He said: “Our aim, it’s to be better than last year in however and whatever form that comes in really. We do not want to be so inconsistent.
“We want consistency in our performances, that’s not necessarily winning them all, but when people come and watch us, we want them to see we can be consistent.
“So if we lose, then we are losing because the other team is better than us, not because we have not performed ourselves.
“If we do that we will have a better season. We have a good group and more numbers in than last year which is a good thing.
“If there is one word for me next year, it is just consistency. Consistency in our performance, not having a horrendous one and then a good one the next week.”
As well as keeping the majority of their squad together, Horsham have added summer signing Rob O’Toole, Darren Budd, Matt Axell, Joe Keehan, goalkeeper Josh James, Chris Breach, Dan Mobsby, Asa Nicholson, Toby House and Jack Hartley.
Last week captain Ash Jones was the third player who had committed to next season to change their mind and he opted to join division-lower Saltdean.
George Gaskin and Tony Nwachukwu also both had put pen to paper only to switch back to former clubs.
Di Paola added: “Ash is a good lad. He has been good for us and at the time, we were good for him for a couple of years.
“It’s unfortunate, he wanted to be certain he would be playing at his age. He goes with our best wishes and I hope he gets what he wants out of football.
“You have to accept sooner or later people aren’t going to play for you forever, whether that is through age, injury like Mark Knee, or whatever.”
On their first two fixtures, the boss added: “Saturday is going to be our first test, you never know on the opening day.
“They are one team that do not publish what they are doing, so you don’t know, but we are really looking forward to it.
“Shoreham I think will be really tough. People have said they have not made a lot of signings, but everyone I have spoken to about them that has played them says they have been good and they have some really good players.
“Also, it’s a local derby so things go out the window, sometimes it’s nothing to do with the strength of the teams, it’s a war of attrition.”
Nicholson and Axell are set to bit fit after minor injuries, although concerns remain of Budd, who has a back issue.