Horsham FC to put faith in youth as pre-season training begins

Striker Jake Legrange, who impressed at the end of last season, is one of several U18s training with the first team. Picture John Lines
Striker Jake Legrange, who impressed at the end of last season, is one of several U18s training with the first team. Picture John Lines
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Gary Charman has now lost five members of last season’s Horsham squad but he is confident of keeping the rest.

And the player/manager says the team will be revitalised by a number of young players, with Jamie Ampleford, Jake Legrange and Harry Smith among the under-18s who have joined the first team for pre-season training, which began on Tuesday.

Forward Ashley Robinson has told Charman he won’t be returning to the club and joins Jahmahl King (Hastings), Byron Napper (Lewes), Scott Harris and Glen Woodburn (both Redhill) out the door.

“I’ve lost five now Ashley Robinson has left, I’m not sure where he’s gone, but I’m confident of keeping the rest,” Charman said. “We had our first training session of pre-season on Tuesday, around 15 turned out and it was very positive.

“A few were on holiday so we should have around 22, 24 for the next one on Thursday.

“I’ve also got two potential new players coming down when they both get back from holiday together at the start of July. They’re both young, quick and lively, exactly the type of players I want at this football club.”

A number of youth team players broke into the first team squad last season, including goalkeeper Lewis Blaney and striker Jake Legrange, who impressed when given some game time at the end of the campaign.

They have begun training with the seniors along with Adam wicking and George Hole and two other highly rated under-18s who have returned to the club.

Forward Ampleford, who spent last year in America on a scholarship, and midfielder Harry Smith, who had a season at Worthing FC, both caught the eye during pre-season for the last campaign.

And they are likely to get a better chance of breaking into the first team with Charman keen to utilise the young talent he has at his disposal.

“The six who trained with us all impressed,” said Charman, himself a product of the youth set up. “I’m planing to have a younger team this year because at times last season we looked tired playing two games a week.

“We’d play well on Saturday and then be sluggish on Tuesday so I’m keen to avoid that again. Another reason is of course younger players cost less and with our budget that is important.”