SOLIHULL Moors boss Neal Ardley believes taking the club into the Football League would rank as his best career achievement as a manager ahead of their play-off semi-final clash this weekend.
Moors will play either Halifax Town or Chesterfield in the National League play-off semi-finals and know a win would leave them just 90 minutes away from a securing a place in League Two.
The club have enjoyed a stellar campaign under Ardley who memorably kept AFC Wimbledon in the Football League in his first season as a manager before then taking them into League One.
And Ardley feels promotion with Moors would be a better achievement than he managed with the Dons as Solihull aim to reach the Football League for the first time in their short history.
Ardley said: “I always said I wouldn’t top keeping Wimbledon in the league on the last day of the season as a rookie manager.
“My first year at Notts County, we had 12 players at the start of the season and we got to the play-off final with no fans during the pandemic, that was pretty remarkable.
“This season has been incredible as far as the achievement of 87 points and the performances are concerned, if we were to win and go up it would probably top the lot and if we didn’t it would be there or thereabouts.
“Both sets of fans can be massive, we’ve got home advantage and we need to use it, we’ve been good at home this season and we’re going to need everybody to push us over the line, we’ve got to make it count.”
Moors have lost just one of their last 22 matches in the National League and come into the play-offs unbeaten at home since the turn of the year – a run of 10 games.
Ardley added: “We’ve got a very thin squad and all of them are happy to be on the pitch at any point, players have been injured and we’ve carried on winning, it’s fantastic for a manager.
“I watch training and it’s breathtaking, it’s the best I’ve ever seen from one of my teams on a regular basis in my managerial career.
“To get 87 points is incredible, if the boys can go out and put in two performances as they have done in the second half of the season, there’s a lot of teams that wouldn’t want to play us.
“Not only do we need to perform well, we need a little bit of lady luck on our side as well as our performance levels, we need the footballing gods to shine on us for two games, if we do that we’ve got as good of a chance as anyone to go up.”
And Ardley has heaped praise on his players ahead of the crunch game which will be played at a sold out ARMCO Arena.
Ardley said: “We’ve tried to get the balance right in training, the worst thing you can do is do too much and they’ll be frazzled by the time they get to the game.
“The boys know what they’re doing, we gave them the weekend off and they trained incredibly, it was exceptional, I’ve hardly ever had to gee up training or be the motivational force.
“We’ve got good players and a way of playing, we change system during most games and the boys go to it straight away, the team spirit and the quality of the players is exceptional.
“I hope they get what they deserve because the way they have performed throughout the whole season they deserve to go all the way.”
Solihull host either Halifax or Chesterfield on Sunday, May 29 with kick-off at 12.30pm at the ARMCO Arena.