HOLYHEAD Hotspur’s road to redemption has seen them emerge as leading candidates to make an instant return to the second tier.

The Holy Islanders’ have shown plenty of signs of life this season after a dismal campaign that saw them relegated from the Huws Gray Alliance despite a strong showing in their final games.

Things look far different this time around, with manager Darren Garmey leading his talented squad to pole position in Lock Stock Welsh Alliance Division One, eight points clear of their most dangerous challengers Denbigh Town having played a game more.

This represents a marked improvement from a club that also lost the services of key duo Tomos Clarke and Mel McGinness during the summer, and there is also plenty of knockout competition opportunities to attain silverware due to their excellent progress in the FAW Trophy and Lock Stock Cookson Cup.

Their season is already looking similar to that of Conwy Borough’s memorable treble-winning campaign during their only season back at third-tier level before promotion to the JD Cymru North, and Garmey deserves a tremendous amount of credit for galvanising his troops following such a disappointment.

It would have been easy to start over with an underachieving squad of players, especially give the drop in standard at Welsh Alliance level, but Garmey’s faith in the majority of the squad that played last season has paid off substantially so far.

The likes of goalkeeper Carl Jones, Dean Garmey, Kenleigh Owen and Alex Jones have all been at the top of their game, with Deian Parry also emerging as a key component within the set-up thanks to a series of exceptional performances.

Another thing that Spurs’ have going for them is the firepower at their disposal, which was severely lacking last term and played a big part in their eventual downfall.

Bringing in experienced figure Chris Jones was a masterstroke from Garmey, and the former JD Welsh Cup winner has been complimented superbly by Dewi Thomas and Asa Thomas, a recent arrival from Holyhead Town.

There are going to be plenty of challenges ahead for this in-form side as we approach the business end of the season, but the character they are showing in games with teams also vying for high places tells you all you need to know about the completely different mind set around The New Stadium.

Their battling point at Central Park against a formidable Denbigh side was a massive result, and they also edged out Llanrwst United and Glan Conwy by the narrowest of margins despite their fine recent form.

With Greenfield, Welshpool, Llandyrnog United and St Asaph City upcoming during February, this represents another very good opportunity for Spurs’ to generate even more momentum and put the onus on others around them to raise their game and try and catch them should they slip up.

Given what we have seen so far, that appears unlikely and that is down in no small part to the fantastic work being done by Garmey and all at the Holy Islanders.