CRAIG Adey says Ardley United’s superb first half of the season has come as no surprise and is backing his side to kick on in their push for promotion, writes Jack Johnson.

The north Oxfordshire outfit sit top of Uhlsport Hellenic League Division 1 West with 12 victories from 14 games.

It is an impressive return for a club, who found themselves without a manager in June following chairman Norman Stacey’s decision to step down and then boss Paul Davis’s departure.

But Ian Feaver took over as chairman and quickly appointed a new manager in Adey, who in turn assembled a new squad over a busy couple of weeks.

Ten successive league victories followed and despite back-to-back defeats to Clanfield 85 and North Leigh United in November, Ardley are back to winning ways.

Adey’s side finished 2017 on a high note with a convincing 6-1 victory against Cheltenham Saracens over Christmas and the former Oxford City Nomads boss insists the impressive start has not come as a shock.

He said: “Not really.

“The biggest surprise was when we had a defeat, that took a bit of a halt to the proceedings, but we’re back on track now.

“Our last game was probably our best performance of the season.”

Adey added: “From the outset, the boys have been great.

“We’ve had a couple of minor blips, but you’re going to get that, especially at this level.”

Because of the turmoil, Feaver announced just days after taking over that Ardley would be moving down from the Premier Division to Division 1 West for the 2017-18 campaign.

But Adey believes the feel-good factor has returned.

He said: “Ian has been outstanding, he’s delivered on everything he has said.

“It was my job to get a squad together quickly which we managed and from a situation that was looking pretty gloomy, we’re looking good.

“We’ve got a big month ahead with six games, so it’s exciting times.”

Ardley, who are four points clear, return to action this weekend when they travel to Letcombe.

But the Ardley boss is predicting a tough title battle and is not expecting a two-horse race.

He said: “There are other teams that could come into it.

“Letcombe are very good on their day and so are Shrivenham.

“But teams are beating each other and what we need to do is focus on ourselves, keep winning and take it into our own hands.”