Horsham boss Di Paola will not 'accept mediocrity' after FA Cup run

Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola. Picture by Steve Robards
Horsham manager Dominic Di Paola. Picture by Steve Robards

Dominic Di Paola won’t ‘accept mediocrity’ after Horsham’s FA Cup run came to end on Saturday.

In front of a home crowd of 902, the Hornets fell to a 2-0 defeat against Dartford in the second qualifying round but won plaudits for the way they matched their National League South opponents.

Horsham have also taken to life in the BetVictor Premier Division after last season’s promotion like a duck to water. Di Paola’s charges sit fifth, in the last play-off spot, after taking 14 points from seven games.

This, along with an average home attendance of 618 after five games at the new Camping World Community Stadium, has got the Hornets buzzing again

But Di Paola demanded that Horsham ‘kick on while things are good’ and stressed that they cannot ‘rest on their laurels as a football club’.

He said: “I think you’re almost taking for granted what the club is doing now.

“We came in and we played three games after the club had already been relegated (to the County League in 2015) and we lost to Ramsgate, Tooting and Faversham.

“There was no one who wanted to be at Horsham. There was no one giving their all. We’ve gone in the right direction over the past few years.

“You can’t take it for granted. This is where football clubs sometimes lose their way a bit because they just think it’s normal.

“As soon as you start resting on your laurels as a football club you stagnate. We have to kick it all on while things are good.

“If you stand still in football you’re dead. We can’t accept mediocrity.

“If you start patting yourself on the back because you’ve had a decent result against Dartford, a game we lost by the way, you’re not doing the right thing.”

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Horsham return to the bread and butter of the league when they visit Cheshunt on Saturday.

The Ambers lie in 16th following their promotion via the Bostik South Central play-offs last season.

The Hertfordshire outfit have taken seven points from as many games. With yet another tough trip on the horizon for the Hornets, Di Paola called on his side to stay ‘switched on’ against an ‘improving’ Cheshunt outfit.

He added: “Cheshunt are a good, improving side. They’ve made some more signings so they’re going to be another tough challenge.

“If you’re not switched on, you’re going to find it really hard. Teams are a more relentless, athletic, and fitter in the Premier.

“We seem to be playing a lot of away games in the league.

“We’ve gone to Brightlingsea, Enfield, Lewes, Bognor, now Cheshunt.

“It seems like we’re doing a lot of M25 at the moment.

“But that’s fine, we’ll get it out the way.”