Fortune have endured a testing league campaign – having been promoted from Division Two of the MGBSFL last year, they finished bottom of Division One, with just a solitary win in 14 matches.
Under manager Linden, they have saved their best form for the cup, with young goalkeeper Joel Carlowe the hero in the semi-final victory over FC Team – where he saved all three penalties in the shoot-out.
“It’s a fantastic occasion for Temple Fortune and everyone is looking forward to the big game,” enthused Linden.
“It will be great to see two well-established Jewish football clubs in a cup final. It’s also a first for me, after losing in three semi-finals.”
Linden has overseen a major overhaul of players following promotion and he believes the cup run can be used as “a springboard for future success”. He said: “We have already started to plan for next season, with a new-look management team in place. The integration of both teams gives us a great chance to compete right at the top of Division Two next season and build from there.
“The last 12 months have been a rocky ride, with a promotion followed by relegation, but now this cup run and the opportunity to lift silverware is my goal. Let’s hope it’s the start of a great era with plenty more days like Sunday lined up.”
Linden predicts a “competitive” final and he “expects Faithfold to be a tough team to crack”. He commented: “They have a lot of experience, especially given the new signings they have made over the last few months, most notably from L’Equipe whom we competed with last year.
“The feeling in the group is good. I just ask for 110 per cent from the 16-man squad and, most importantly, to enjoy the day and win the cup.”
Fortune chairman Nigel Kyte says victory in the final would be the perfect way to start the celebrations for the club’s golden anniversary.
“I’m immensely proud to see TFFC back in a cup final, especially after the kind of season we have endured. But the hard work put in by Lee Fegan, Darren Zitren, Steven Black and Simon really does deserve an occasion such as the BGT final.
“And credit to the team who have integrated well. Win or lose, we are chuffed to be here and I am sure we will all enjoy the occasion.”
Faithfold will look to the firepower of Yoss Brownson and Gav Lewis to steer them to victory. Brownson fired a decisive hat-trick in the semi-final win over North London Raiders C, while the squad will be looking to give long-serving manager David Garson the perfect send-off, before he moves into Masters football.
The experience of defenders Tony Plaskow, Nick Stern, captain Stuart Haring and David Prager will be key, with Gav Lewis looking to get behind the Fortune defence.
A high-scoring contest is on the cards, in what could be survival of the fittest on a big pitch befitting the final.
JC team news: Faithfold’s noticeable absentees are Chaim Bordon, who is in Israel, Ben Kfir and Gav Lewis. Aron Luftig will provide cover at full-back.
FORTUNE (from): Joel Carlowe, Lee Fegan, Adam Speck (capt), David Brown, Lee Hyams, Rob Jay, Josh Klepper, Daniel Vandemolen, Gideon Wetrin, Conor Brand, Gab Stone, Steven Black, Simon Cohen, Michael Goldberg, Simon Linden (player-manager), Gab Saul, Declan Spiro, Brett Stead, Jacob Kalms, Mike Woolf, Darren Zitren, Ami Wynbourne, Lloyd Becker, Gideon Caplin
FAITHFOLD (from): David Garson, Aron Luftig, Stuart Haring (capt), Nick Stern, Tony Plaskow, Josh Barnett, Josh Lewis, Naftali Dove, Josh Martin, Mark Singer, Yoss Brownson, Jon Kay, David Prager, Zalmy Cohen, Gav Lewis, Sam Garson, Jonathan Marrache, Dan Yossman
OFFICIALS: Referee - Dan Fox, Assistant-referees - Stuart Ansher, Bob Caplin. 4th Official: Robert Benardout
JC star man: Lee Hyams (Fortune)
DC Prediction: Fortune 3 Faithfold 2