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Raiders up for Manchester challenge

Having dominated the Maccabi football scene in London over the past couple of seasons, it’s hard to believe North London Raiders A’s season could effectively end on Sunday.

    Their trip to Brooklands in the Peter Morrison Trophy is the kind of draw manager Dan Shafron could have done without. Dumped out of the Cyril Anekstein Trophy by first division Lions B, a disappointing mid-table finish is on the cards in the MGBSFL Premier Division. So they are expected to take a very strong squad to Manchester Maccabi this weekend.

    Raiders have been hit hard by injuries this season. Captain David Rhodes has missed a big chunk of the season, but Shafron was relieved to see him come through a C-team game last Sunday, when he scored. Midfield talisman Jonny Kay will undergo a fitness test.

    Last season’s double winners don’t know too much about Manchester. But their opponents, co-managed by Jonny Rose and Rick Hamburger, are ready to record a major surprise against a Raiders team yet to win the Jewish FA Cup.

    Shafron said: “The club have always wanted an away day up north so it’s a match we are all relishing. It’s a long way to go so we must be switched on and focused from the second we leave London to the minute the match ends.”

    This is one of three north versus south Maccabi cup ties over the weekend. HMH Old Boys face a tough test against the MJSL Rep Team at the Co-op Academy, while Redbridge Jewish Care boss Jon Jacobs hopes a lack of match sharpness does not hamper his team’s progress against South Manchester.

    The east Londoners last played on December 11, although Sam Sollosi and Ryan Cole have enjoyed success run-outs for the club’s B-team recently.

    Jacobs commented: “We are underdogs for the first time this season against a very good side from Manchester who play at a high level, but we are going to enjoy pitting our undoubted talents against them.”

    Ben Sollosi, Scott Oldstein, Steve Summers, Dean Nyman, Russell Goldstein, Zack Neiman and Daniel Garfinkle return to the RJC squad.

    Sunday is also D-day for FC Team A. They have home advantage for their meeting with Maccabi London Lions A, but Mitch Young is wary the visitors could bring in some registered players for whom Sunday morning football isn’t the norm.

    Austin Lipman was a key figure in MLL’s victory over Hendon United in the Anekstein Cup, but it would not surprise me if they bring in some defensive reinforcements to deal with the threat of Richard Salmon.

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