Even the best managers have fallen victim to the dreaded Manager of the Month curse, but Camden Park boss Josh Marks is showing he is a cut above the rest as he leads his team into unchartered waters this weekend.
When Marks took over the reins from Justin Rockberger a couple of years ago, reaching one, let alone two major cup finals, would’ve sounded like little more than a pipe dream. He has made giant strides in MSFL management and it’s hard to believe the treble remains a realistic target. I was mightily impressed that they eliminated Republic of Flixton in Manchester last weekend, outsmarting two managers who led Manchester Maccabi to Morrison glory only two years ago.
My MSFL Manager of the Month for February, and top boss this week, was in bullish mood ahead of Sunday’s JC Cyril Anekstein Cup clash against 2011 winners Redbridge Jewish Care A at the Ark Academy in Wembley.
“Everyone at Camden Park — from the WAGS to the groundsmen — are really geared up for the game this week,” he said. “We’ve never played a semi-final before and are relishing the opportunity to play at Wingate.
“I don’t know much about Redbridge – judging from their current position they seem to be a mid-table Premier Division side who have done well to still be in two cups. They know even less about us which will certainly be used to our advantage.
“Everyone’s fit, everyone’s playing with confidence and with the wind beneath our wings we back ourselves to send Redbridge back to Essex empty-handed.”
No doubt Marks has already done Eilon Kennet’s teamtalk but the east Londoners will not have things all their own way on Sunday. Far from it in fact. The fact RJC feature household names including Steve Summers, Adam Stolerman, Adam Hakimi and Dan Lee will count for little once that first whistle blows.
Kennet believes a lack of match sharpness will make things tough on Sunday. He said: “Camden are a team in form and, once again, we have to play a big game without a match the previous Sunday.
“It’s been a very frustrating season as far as our fixtures are concerned. This apart, we’ll need to be at our best, physically and mentally.
“However, it is a semi-final and we desperately want to be in the final, so as always, its up to us to achieve.”
The other semi-final sees London Maccabi Lions A host Faithfold A at Rowley Lane. Like Camden, a treble is still on the menu for a Faithfold team who ultimately made victory over Oakwood look easy last weekend, but they could face a very different Lions team on Sunday.
Faithfold recently completed a league double over the Lions, but I don’t think people should read too much into the respective 5-2 victories ahead of the crunch clash.
Since Andy Landesberg took charge at Rowley Lane, the Lions have produced some excellent results, with a predominantly young team. You need look no further than last weekend’s 2-1 win over North London Raiders A at Brunel. And although some people may say the Lions are fortunate to still be in the competition after playing an ineligible player in an earlier round, I expect Landesberg to field an experienced team, featuring Tony Gold, James Gershfield and possibly a handful of players from the club’s Saturday teams.
With Wingate & Finchley 90 minutes away, Landesberg knows as well as anyone they must come away from the game with no regrets.