Stuart Delmonte has warned his Manchester Maccabi 1st to expect an almighty battle to retain the Peter Morrison Trophy after declaring: “Everyone wants to beat us.”
Maccabi defeated Faithfold A on penalties in last season’s final at Oldham Athletic’s Boundary Park to seal a glorious day for Delmonte and co-manager Tony Rosenberg.
The holders begin their quest with a tie against MJSL student side Oakhill on Sunday and Delmonte says there can be no room for complacency if they are to pull off a repeat of last year’s success.
“Last year was wonderful because nobody expected us to win it but we did,” said Delmonte.
“But now the tables have turned because we’re the team that everybody wants to beat and that’s what happens when you win the Peter Morrison trophy.
“Everyone wants to beat us now and we’re there to be shot at because we’re the holders.
“We know Oakhill will give us a very difficult game. I saw them play last week and they’re a good side.
“They’re a really nice bunch of lads, who are very friendly and we’re looking forward to the game.”
Delmonte is refusing to take the challenge of Oakhill lightly but says his team’s superior fitness could prove crucial.
“We’re playing some great football at the moment but it will be difficult to play our normal style on those bobbly pitches,” he added.
“I think in the end it will come down to fitness and that’s where we should have the advantage.”
The winners of the tie will play Republic of Mancunia 1st in the second round.