Horsham boss has ‘real faith’ in squad’s ability, but is desperate for injury crisis to end

Horsham FC. Dominic di Paola. Pic Steve Robards SR1720470 SUS-170829-111143001
Horsham FC. Dominic di Paola. Pic Steve Robards SR1720470 SUS-170829-111143001

Dominic Di Paola says he has faith in the ability of his Horsham side - just as long as they can start playing together, with almost half of them out in an injury crisis.

The Hornets have eight players on the treatment table, and some of them key ones that are potentially out long term.

Manager Di Paola had planned to operate this season with an 18-man squad, but has been forced to up that and currently have 23 players on the books.

It has meant Horsham have not once been able to field their strongest squad this season or even all of their new summer recruits together.

Currently sidelined are recent signings Chris Breach, who pulled up five minutes into his comeback against Chipstead on Tuesday after two weeks out, Joe Keehan, who is waiting for a scan, and Asa Nicholson, who could return to training this week.

Others struggling are Adam Hunt (groin), Darren Boswell (heel), Lewis Hyde (knee) and Alex Duncan (hairline heel crack).

Scott Kirkwood was the latest to join that list, picking up a groin injury in the Hornets 2-1 defeat to Chips midweek which could rule him out for four to six weeks.

Despite that, it hasn’t been a horror start to the season on the pitch.

Horsham sit 16th in the Bostik League South Division with two wins and a draw from their first six games. And Di Paola is upbeat about their prospects.

He said: “We have just got to get players back as it is crippling us now. We lost three more on Tuesday night and two on Saturday, it’s really difficult.

“It’s not just little injuries either, some are long term and these are key players for us. We were more strong in pre-season than we have been since the season kicked-off and you don’t want that.

“It’s not a sob story as we didn’t do enough to win the game against Chipstead on Tuesday night, but these injuries are making it really hard at the moment.

“We have eight out now and it’s so hard. Our youngsters, some of which in their first season, are being asked carry us.

“There isn’t really much point moaning, but I am feeling a bit sorry for myself and feel it’s all going against us. We got a good group of players together and we have not been able to play anywhere near that team.”

The boss has also ruled out signing any more players as he believes it will pose more problems in the long-term.

He added: “Hopefully, it will turn and we will get the majority back, I am sure when we do we will be alright. I do not want to keep signing players as you have a problem when those you have come back.

“You can’t sign a player and say, ‘when all the others are back you won’t play.’ Getting new faces in all the time is unhealthy. The ones that are looking to get back fit are all thinking, ‘oh he’s signing new players’ and it is not helpful.

“I have real faith in the squad and if we have everyone available, we will be decent. When we get through this spell and get key members back in we will be fine.”

Horsham host league rivals Herne Bay in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup at Culver Road on Saturday.

Di Paola added: “We will give absolutely everything we possibly can as a management team and players. The boys are an honest bunch and are hurting from midweek.”