‘Al D’ on the season so far
With a weekend off, new dad Alex Duncan will have no choice but to swap his Saturday and Sunday in a Horsham shirt for changing nappies, yet he managed to find time to talk to Matt Dale about how he felt things were shaping up this season.
The new Dad, who’s son was born on Wednesday morning, is now in his third full season at the club, and the full-back, Al D, as he is affectionately called, is well liked amongst Hornets fans as a combative defender who puts his all into games.
Not surprisingly, Duncan’s long association with manager Dom Di Paola meant he was one of the first players to commit to the 2017/18 season, however he accepts that despite the pre-season optimism, things on the pitch have not quite happened at times, as the Yellows continue to show signs of the inconsistent form that troubled them last season.
Duncan was himself dealt a setback earlier in the season, when a fractured heel ruled him out for two months, after he limped off during our 3-0 win in the Bostik League at home to Shoreham back in August, but he revealed he felt fit and ready to play his part as the season ramps up towards the mid-way point. “It was hard being out, it always is when you’re injured – you feel a bit helpless as you can’t contribute, but thankfully it didn’t take too long to recover, I’m feeling like I’m getting sharper each match and slowly getting back to some form”.
Duncan’s reintroduction to the fray following his spell on the sidelines ended up as something of a baptism of fire, as he came off the bench at half time with his team currently 5-0 down away at Cray Wanderers. Horsham supporters will need no reminding that a further three goals were conceded during the second half, and ‘Al D’ admitted that the result hit the team hard. “all of the lads were really down in the changing rooms, we all felt it hard. After the game, the management came in and everyone had a massive heart to heart. We wanted to try and find out what we thought was going wrong and figure out how to put things right – we owed the supporters that much”.
Duncan believes that the loss of players through injury and departure may have impacted upon Horsham’s season, but believes things are slowly getting back on track “there was a lot of optimism before the season got underway, but I think we’ve had a bit of a reality check as things like losing players like Hunty (Adam Hunt) through injury and players leaving the club obviously hasn’t helped us. We had that spell when there were a lot of injuries, including when I was out, and it’s taken a bit of time to get everyone fit and get new players in”.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the new additions Duncan is most pleased with, is the reintroduction of 2015/16 captain Joe Shelley, enjoying a new lease of life as a defender. Al couldn’t hide his admiration of his team mate saying “Biff is a role model – it’s the best way to describe him. It’s fantastic to have him back in the squad. He leads by example, he’s a quiet family man, and you know that he’ll give you 110%, he’s exactly what you want as a player alongside you”.
Duncan believes that Horsham need to improve upon their inconsistency if they are to climb further up the table and improve upon their 16th place finish last season as he says “we want to keep gaining the points. We had a decent run and then that stopped at Chipstead, but some teams need a bit of a lucky break which can change things about. When you look at the games coming up, we’ve got to believe that they’re all winnable matches. There’s a long way to go, but if we keep plugging away, hopefully we can finish up higher than we did last season”.