Ryan Handley is delighted with Waltham Abbey’s start to the season and admits he didn’t expect the Abbott’s to be leading the table so early on.

Abbey are sitting pretty at the top of the Bositk South Central League by one point, having won each of their last seven league games under boss Mark Stimson.

That form meant Stimson was named as Manager-of-the-Month for September after the Abbott’s claimed victories over the likes of Northwood, Hayes and Yeading and Hanwell Town last month, who all currently sit in the top 10.

It certainly hasn’t taken long for the former Thurrock boss to stamp his mark on the squad, having only taken the managerial reigns at the Capershotts Stadium in the summer following Paul Joynes’ resignation.

With renewed belief, Abbey now want to challenge for promotion and assistant manager Handley praised the club’s squad for the way they have started the campaign.

Handley said: “We’re pretty pleased where we are at the moment. There have been challenges which we have been able to overcome but we’re pretty pleased with the way we’ve started. It’s nice to be at the top but we’d rather be there at the end of the season rather than the beginning.

“We had faith in what we were going to do and we wanted to get the right balance of players in. I don’t think we expected to be at the top of the table but we thought we’d be in the top five or six all season.

“But to be at the top of the table and to win seven in a row is unexpected, but a credit to the lads that we’ve got. We’ve had lots of injuries over the last few weeks and the boys that have come in have done well and made it tough for us to make decisions for the other boys to come back in. As a squad and as a team, they have done very well.

“The Manager-of-the-Month award, and Mark will back me up on this, isn’t just about Mark it’s about all of us. The influence from our situation can only happen at half-time and full-time and at the beginning of the match and in training.

“It’s down to the boys to go out there and perform over the 90 minutes and it’s a reflection of them as well as us. It’s a great effort from everybody and nice to be recognised.”

Abbey are hoping to make it eight wins in a row when they return to league action with a trip to Chipstead this weekend.

The Chips currently sit in 14th place in the league and are in a good run of form at the moment, having lost just one of their last five games in all competitions.

They beat FC Romania 5-0 last time out in the league and built upon that win last Saturday by progressing to the qualifying round of the FA Trophy with a 2-1 win over Welwyn Garden City.

Handley, therefore, is expecting a tough test, but believes the Abbott’s are more than capable of extending their unbeaten run.

He said: “Just like any other team in the league, if you’re on a winning run you want to keep going and pile on the points as much as you possibly can. Chipstead had a very good win at the weekend in the FA Trophy, so it’s going to be tough at their place.

“They look a very good side and like most teams in this league, they’re not here to just make up the numbers. They’re going to be strong and it’s going to be difficult for us as always.

“We have our little personal targets over the next few weeks and between now and Christmas, so if we can hit those, we’ll be there or there about come the end of the season.”