Play-off hero among four to commit to Horsham

Dylan Merchant heads home Horsham's winner in May's play-off final. Photo by Derek Martin Photography
Dylan Merchant heads home Horsham's winner in May's play-off final. Photo by Derek Martin Photography

Horsham have confirmed that four of last season's play-off-winning squad have been retained ahead of their first Isthmian Premier Division campaign in seven years, including the man who sealed their promotion.

Defenders Dylan Merchant and Will Miles, and midfielders Dean Lovegrove and George Hayward will pull on the green and yellow shirt for the Hornets in 2019/20 as boss Dominic Di Paola continues to build his squad.

Merchant wrote his name in Horsham folklore after he headed home from Joey Taylor’s free-kick in extra-time to seal a 2-1 victory over Ashford United in May's Bostik South East play-off final. The defender made 45 appearances for the Hornets last season, scoring four goals.

Miles, who was acquired from Worthing in February, has agreed to re-sign for the club despite suffering an injury-riddled season - making only seven appearances for Horsham in 2018/19.

Lovegrove, currently in his second spell for the club, and Hayward will bolster the midfield as the Hornets look to cement their place in the Isthmian Premier Division next season.

Speaking to horshamfc.co.uk Di Paola said: “They did so well with us, and they deserve the chance to give this level a go.

“Some of them have played (in this league) before, some of them perhaps haven’t done what they wanted to do at this level and, for some of them it’s going to be a new experience.

“They’ve always had a pretty good attitude and they’ve worked really hard, so I’ve got no complaints at the moment.”

The quartet join Steve Metcalf, Chris Smith, Rob O’Toole, Jack Brivio, Harvey Sparks, Charlie Harris, and Lee Harding of last season’s squad to agree terms

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