After serving his apprenticeship at Croydon, John Fowler is on the verge of greatness as boss of neighbours Whyteleafe.

In their hunt for a return to to Ryman League football, the Leafe have taken the Southern Counties East League by storm.

Fowler’s men have the best attack and meanest defence in the league, and have won eight on the bounce, scoring 35 goals in the process.

However, they remain second behind Ashford United with the sides are yet to meet.

Fowler said: “We have accumulated a good squad of players who are good friends off and on the pitch. We have the right balance in the team too, with our ball players and the hard grafters – everyone brings something to the side.”

Fowler, who became boss at Church Road last summer, added: “My time at Croydon was a good apprenticeship, but this move to Whyteleafe was good for me and everything is dropping into place.

“With only one team going up, this is a difficult league, harder than I imagined, but we have to be one of the favourites.”

Ashford and Whyteleafe have played 14 games each, while their nearest challengers Pheonix Sports in third have played six games more, and Tunbridge Wells in fourth have played one game more.

"Ashford and Tunbridge Wells have thrown a lot of money at getting out of this league, and it is very easy to put a run together and climb the table.

"But I would suggest it is between us and Ashford. They have a lot of fixtures coming up and they are yet to play many of the top five sides, whereas we have played at least two and beaten them."

Whyteleafe go to Lordswood this weekend without Dylan Merchant due to work commitments, while Cedric Abraham returns to the side after illness.