Leeds ready for Lions test, says Kristall


MJSL champions Leeds Maccabi are missing three key regulars for the Jewish FA Cup last eight meeting against Lions Spartans (See team news).

There’s no doubting that Sunday will be Leeds’s toughest match of the season. They have done fantastically well to win the Joan Collins Premier Division, but Lions are a totally different proposition to what they’re used to playing week in, week out.

They did well to beat Woodford in Essex in the last round, but manager Dan Kristal and co have their work cut out, even with home advantage.

Ahead of kick-off, Kristall told JC Sport: “Lions are one of the favourites for the competition with the wealth of players that they have to choose from.

“We expect a young and fit side to travel up to Leeds and they come as big favourites for the game as they play in a semi-pro league.

“I am also led to believe that the Morrison is "win at all costs" in their list of priorities this season, so we are under no illusions as to the quality of squad that they will bring up.

“We will welcome to the "carpet pitch" at Squirrel Way which I'm sure will rival their home pitch at Rowley Lane. The pressure is on Lions!

“My team will go out and enjoy themselves with absolutely no pressure. We have been superb this season and have nothing to lose, with a big Feldman final at Boundary Park round the corner as well as a Shonn semi next month.

“This is in addition to the MJSL title which was our main aim for the season. The Morrison is just a bonus for us this year, but we will sure give it a "right Yorkshire go".

The Lions have an wealth of talent on their books, but manager Andy Landesberg knows that the tie poses a potential banana skin.

He told JC Sport: "This is a very tough match for MLL, with a game last night (Wedneseday), and another one on Saturday, Sunday's trip to Leeds is less than perfect.

"We will again field a team that will contain seven players aged 21 or under. I just hope the quantity of games we have played in the last two weeks won’t be that little bit too much for us.

"Nevertheless, this is a team/squad that is fully focused on getting us into the semi-finals at the very least. They are all up for the away trip to Leeds and know that there can be and will be no excuses, we are coming to win and that is the strong feeling in the group and at Rowley Lane.

"We know Leeds Maccabi will also be giving everything they have to get into the next round. They will also have a point to prove, and show us what they are all about.

"This is a tough match for us and are completely aware that we will need to be at our very best to be able to enjoy the trip back down the M1.

"This is a special Cup, it's one we want to win badly, and being able to make the trip north makes it that little bit more exciting for everybody. We will be taking nothing for granted and expect a tough and competitive match. It’s Match of the Day and bed for my Boys Saturday night!"

The scene is set for a crackerjack of a football match, and even though the Lions have had matches on Wednesday and Saturday, I expect them to deliver.

JC team news: Leeds are missing the cup-tied Jordan Marks and Bradley Lander. Indeed Lander will be playing against his regular club and was “heartbroken” when the draw was made. The in-form Rob Selwyn is away, while Johnny Goldstone will have a late fitness test on his “dodgy” knee. Richard Black returns after missing the away win at Woodford in the previous round. Veteran Daniel Ross is trying to shake off a groin injury and expects to play.

JC star man: Max Kyte (Lions)

DC Prediction: Leeds 1 Lions 2

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