'We're top - but nothing has been won yet,' says Mancs boss Simons
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Manchester Maccabi 3rds’ Jonny Rose scored in the Shonn Trophy defeat against Republic in November. Now manager Martin Simons is warning against complacency in the league
It has been a case of so far, so good for Manchester Maccabi 3rd who go into 2011 six points clear at the top of the Joan Collins Premier Division.
Martin Simons' side have won nine out of nine as they look to win the title for the first time.
Despite their imperious form, Simons is refusing to make any predictions about his team's title hopes and is wary of the perils that injuries could pose to their challenge.
"I only ever talk about the past," he said. "If we continue to play well and get results in the second half of the season we have a very good chance of being the champions of this league. But you never know what could happen if you get injuries. That said, we are moving in the right direction."
Maccabi's closest rivals are the Republic of Mancunia and Hyde Park, six and eight points behind respectively. Anthony Bloch, the manager of Republic, believes his side can push the league leaders all the way.
"All it takes is for Maccabi to slip up and we will be in pole position to take advantage," said Bloch. "We always had a plan to pick up the league within three years, and this is our third season."
In fourth place is South Manchester Maccabi 2nd, whose manager Neil Collins believes his team have lost their chance to win the league after failing to build on a promising start to the season.
"The league has passed us by unless there is a major calamity. We started well but faded. We look forward though to at least having a cup run in the Feldman."
Defending champions Haroldeans have so far failed to live up to their high expectations, and currently sit 12 points adrift. Manager Ivan Gee, whose side will not have played for two months when they resume their campaign in January, is setting his sights on them lifting one of the cups instead.
"We're in two semi-finals now and
I think we could do well."
Gavin Sharpe, the Sporting JLGB manager, has had a tough task rebuilding a side that underwent a radical overhaul at the start of the season, and after a poor start their results have begun to pick up. Sharpe believes that his side can go from strength to strength as the season goes on.
"We're definitely looking to finish in the top five and win one of the cups. We are excited now and not frightened of anyone but we need to keep players fit."
It has been a disappointing campaign to date for Oakhill Lions, who sit second bottom of the league, just a point above Westdene 2nd. Daniel Berkley's team have often played well but failed to capitalise on possession and intricate play with a cutting edge up front. Berkley is now focusing on the cups for success, and is adamant his side can match their rivals. "We can beat anyone on our day and we are focused on retaining the Feldman Cup."
Under Zevi Saunders, Crumpsall are seeking a major improvement in the new year.
Steve Davis, the Westdene 1st manager, views this season as part of their learning curve as they attempt to build for the future. The first team are sitting in mid-table while the second string rooted to the bottom.
Manchester Maccabi 1st have played just four games in the Tameside League Division Two. Stuart Delmonte, who manages the team alongside Tony Rosenberg, said: "Every team we play have at least two semi-pro players, so every game is like a cup final to us."
Darryl Lee's South Manchester 1st sit mid-table in the Manchester Accountants Premier Division, nine points adrift of league leaders Mace.
"We were disappointed to go out in the Peter Morrison Trophy and are looking for a good run in the other cup competitions. I would mark the season so far as 6/10. The nice thing about the cups is that there is no pressure. If we can have a decent end to the season and reach a cup final that will be a good season."