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Horsham Forced To Find Urgent Replacements

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With so many players currently out injured, Dom di Paola, manager of Bostik League South club Horsham, has been rocked further by the news that goalkeeper Josh James and Matt Axell have decided to take time out from football, the latter wanting to concentrate on his business commitments.

With Michael Hunter happy to play a role as ‘back-up’ ‘keeper while dividing his time between the south of England and California, di Paola has moved to bring in highly-rated Arundel goalkeeper James Fernandes and returned to Lewes to bring pacey frontman Liam MacDevitt back to the club.

MacDevitt, who scored 3 goals in twenty-one appearances for the Hornets in the first half of last season, is the third recent arrival from the Dripping Pan along with current loanees Will Robinson and George Landais.

MacDevitt was snapped up by Yeovil Town as a teenager, with whom he signed a two-year contract, but left to pursue a career in athletics.

An accomplished sprinter, he was thwarted in his attempts to represent his country at the 2016 Olympics but has combined his track pursuits with a footballing career that has included spells at Hitchin Town, St Albans City, Gosport Borough, Farnborough and VCD Athletic, from whom he joined Horsham in August 2016.

He moved to Greenwich Borough in November 2016 and began this season at Lewes before re-joining Horsham in October.

Meanwhile, striker Rob O’Toole has made the switch to joining Southern Combination League side Saltdean last week after not being able to turn down a ‘staggering’ offer.

The Brighton-based outfit are chasing promotion this year and are reportedly spending lofty sums in the process, establishing a solid squad over the summer including former Horsham players Ash Jones and Kevin Keehan.

The Hornets confirmed summer signing O’Toole eventually opted to join them after numerous approaches.

O’Toole had scored 6 goals in a dozen appearances before making the switch to the division-lower side.

Manager di Paola told the West Sussex County Times: “I do not blame Rob for leaving at all. The money he was offered was ridiculous. It was a staggering amount and if you can get that sort of money, then you should take it as it can pay a mortgage.

“We cannot afford that sort of money and I am glad we can’t in a way as it would be unfair on other players.

“I love Rob to bits and he’s been honest with me. They have been after him since the start of the season and he turned them down four or five times. He kept me informed and he has got a young family and he said he couldn’t keep turning the offers down.”

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