Hornchurch face tough top of table clash with Horsham

PUBLISHED: 15:00 03 January 2020

Nathan Cooper of Hornchurch during Hornchurch vs Wingate & Finchley, BetVictor League Premier Division Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 31st August 2019

Nathan Cooper of Hornchurch during Hornchurch vs Wingate & Finchley, BetVictor League Premier Division Football at Hornchurch Stadium on 31st August 2019

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Hornchurch manager Mark Stimson is expecting a month of tough challenges to start the new decade.

The Urchins will welcome fellow title challengers Horsham to Bridge Avenue on Saturday as they look to build on their positive first half of the season in the Isthmian League Premier Division.

But the experienced boss knows it will be a tough test along with plenty of challenges in a hectic month, including clashes with Folkestone Invicta, Margate and Lewes.

"They've had a fantastic season so far and we lost down there 1-0 in a tight game, so we're expecting no different this weekend," Stimson said.

"They're above us in the league, but we're at home, so we would like to try turning that around to get a win, but we know it won't be easy.

"No game is easy in this division, but hopefully we can kickstart 2020 with three points."

Urchins are without defender Nathan Cooper for the clash after he was sent off in the late stages of a 3-0 win over Brightlingsea Regent last weekend.

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"That was unfortunate," said Stimson. "He got a yellow card earlier on in the game where he couldn't get out the way of the ball and the second one, where the referee gave a penalty, he probably thought it had to be a yellow card as well.

"He will be missed this weekend, but again we've spoken many times about the squad this season, and someone else will come in and be asked to do a job.

"That person will come in and do it to the best of their ability and hopefully it will be enough on the day.

"If we get the three points I think we can go above Horsham which is a double bonus."

Hornchurch currently sit fourth in the league as they head into the New Year, but have two games in hand on the top three.

"I always say try get to Christmas or the halfway stage of the season and be amongst the contenders and we're up there," added Stimson, whose side are also in the FA Trophy's last 32.

"We're not halfway yet, we still have two more games to go and if we get points this weekend it keeps us up there.

"I think in January we've got seven games, a bit of travelling, and some midweek games like Margate, Lewes and Folkestone, so there are some big tests to come.

"We need to maintain what we're doing and keep as many players as possible available as we can."

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