We’re rested and ready to rumble, says Blank
WHILST Ric Blank concedes his team starts Sunday’s cup final as major underdogs, the Oakwood manager believes he has the weapons to upset the odds and win the biggest prize in Jewish football - the Peter Morrison Trophy.
The Oaks have enjoyed a fairytale season and they will be looking to finish it in style and stop Hendon United Sports Club A from completing a cup double at Wingate & Finchley.
Together with Alex Schock, Blank is confident that the newly-crowned JC MSFL Division One champions will not let the occasion get to them in their first appearance in the Jewish FA Cup final.
“Obviously Hendon are huge favourites for the final,” said Blank, “I’ve seen themplayandhavebeenveryimpressed. It’s been pointed out to me countless times how big the pitch is and how that will suit Hendon down to the ground.
“They’re a fit side and we’re a Division One side and, with all due respect to previous opponents, we haven’t played a team with Hendon’s credentials. We’re just delighted to be part of such a great occasionandtheboysaredeterminedto enjoy themselves.”
With the majority of the squad born in Manchester, Blank is confident that his team will push Hendon all the way on Sunday, despite not having played a competitive game since the start of the month. He said: “This season has seen the accumulation of experience, t a l e n t a n d d e t e r mi n a - tion result in us winning the division comfortably.”
“Iknowsomeof theirplayersverywell and it’s a great test for ourselves with next season in mind. We will be playing teamsof Hendon’squalityweekin,week outsoit’sagreatopportunitytoseewhat we’re capable of.”
Captain Adam Levine, winger Bradley Wine and Jason Lindsay have been amongthe star perf o r m - e r s i n league and cup this season, while Blank describes striker Ian Tussie as the “Matt Le Tissier of Oakwood”.
With one trophy already in the bag, Hendon hope to become only the second team in MSFL history to complete the treble – Glenthorne United enjoyed a clean sweep in season 1988/89.
The Reds look set to be at full-strength for the crunch clash with defender Paul Bentley travelling from New York to play, as is right-back Motti Colman, having only recently done Aliyah. Keeper Russell Corin and striker Ben Kon hope to pass a late fitness tests.
Manager David Garbacz is confident his troops can handle the weight of expectation. “The whole squad is still buzzing with excitement following last week’s superb Anekstein Cup victory. It was such a relief to end our recent Wingate jinx and the boys thoroughly deserved their victory.
“It will clearly be a case of not going into this match over-confident or arrogant and to keep our feet firmly on the ground. They will have thought of nothing else for weeks and will be incredibly well-prepared for the occasion.
“We are on the brink of an amazing achievement this year and we go into this match with enormous confidence and self-belief – I reckon we would quite fancy our chances against Manchester United at the moment the way some of these players are feeling.”
Greg Corin, Ari Last and Josh Bentley are aiming to complete a cup double
Oakwood’s Ric Blank and Alex Schock