EXCLUSIVE - Moors boss Ardley hopes to remain in play-off picture as he reflects on Solihull's season - The Solihull Observer

EXCLUSIVE - Moors boss Ardley hopes to remain in play-off picture as he reflects on Solihull's season

SOLIHULL Moors boss Neal Ardley insists the club’s aim is to remain in and around the play-offs having enjoyed an impressive first half of the season.


Moors will be inside the National League play-off places at Christmas having created a four-point buffer on the teams below them.


And they sit just three points behind leaders Chesterfield prior to their Boxing Day clash with fellow promotion hopefuls Wrexham.


Solihull manager Ardley also hopes his side can embark on a cup run in the FA Trophy as they try and keep pace with the division’s best sides.


Ardley said: “The aim is to go into the last eight games of the season, being in with a chance of the play-offs or thereabouts.


“We know how tough the league is and you look at the teams at the top and they’re all very strong.


“We’re averaging over 1.8 points per game, the standard at the top end of the league is almost disjointed.


“Sometimes 1.8 points per game gets you third or fourth in the league and at the moment it’s just about getting us in the play-offs.


“And for me, there’s nothing better than having a cup run and although we performed creditably in the FA Cup – the FA Trophy has to be our aim as well.”


However, Moors recently received a double injury blow with both Callum Howe and Justin Donawa set for an extended spell on the sidelines.


The short-term additions of James Clarke and Josh Lundstram have helped ease the burden on Solihull’s squad and Ardley could yet add more players in the January transfer window.


Ardley added: “James Clarke and Josh Lundstram were short-term options that are going to get us through December.


“We needed an out and out right-back which James is and Josh in central midfield gives us that extra strength going into the Christmas period.


“Long term, when we get to January, we need to look at who is available from our team to go out and play elsewhere and who we can bring in and use the money.


“We haven’t got an endless pot of money, we have to work within budget so sometimes you have to move one out to bring one in.


“They are some of the things we’re looking at more long-term to counteract the loss of Callum [Howe] and Justin [Donawa].”


Solihull have proven difficult to break down this season, recording 12 clean sheets in their last 15 matches in all competitions, with Ardley claiming the league’s Manager of the Month award back in October.


And Ardley admitted he is delighted with his side’s efforts so far this campaign, which includes taking League One side Wigan Athletic to an FA Cup replay.


He said: “We didn’t have a great start, losing Ryan Boot was a blow at the start of the season, if we had him fit at the start we would be in an even better position than we are now.


“Given that, I’m pleased with the business we’ve done within our budget, we’ve kept 12 clean sheets in the last 15 games which is absolutely staggering when you look at it.


“We’ve never done loads of defensive work, we just talked about our mentality towards defending and the boys have taken it on and build up some momentum.


“Add to that the performances against Wigan in the FA Cup – I’ve got to be delighted with everything so far.”


The Solihull boss hopes he can provide supporters with an exciting climax to the current campaign and praised the club’s fans for their support this season.


He said: “First and foremost, stay safe and look out for each other.


“Keep everything going, we took 700 to Notts County, we had 3,800 at Wigan – we’ve had a real good run where there’s been a good feeling around the place and the fans have been a massive part of that.


“The players have got to do their bit and I’ve got to do my bit and if the fans keep coming in with the positivity they have done then hopefully we can try and make the end of the season exciting.”


Moors play twice over the festive period as they make the trip to Wrexham on Boxing Day before then hosting Stockport County two days later.


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