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'Lions in good shape ahead of season opener,' says Landesberg

Andy Landesberg believes London Lions have shown the level of their potential during pre-season, but he insists that his players will never stop striving to improve.

    Andy Landesberg predicts big things from Liron Mannie this season. (Photo: Marc Morris)
    Andy Landesberg predicts big things from Liron Mannie this season. (Photo: Marc Morris)

    The Lions begin their Spartan South Midlands League Division One campaign at home to Codicote tomorrow and boss Landesberg is confident the return of several regulars will boost their promotion challenge.

    “The boys look fit and sharp but we are aware Codicote have brought in a new boss and a group of new players, so it will be a good test. Several other clubs have put new managers and healthy budgets in place over the summer, so things will be tough.”

    Landesberg is delighted with his attacking options going into the new season. He said: “Josh Kennet played in all our pre-season friendlies after being out for a year, while striker James Gershfield is starting to look sharp after playing in the last three and there are still some players to come back.

    “Harry Hatchwell has returned to training along with Charlie Rubin, while we’re managing Jake Furman’s return carefully. He’s currently nursing an injured arm so must do so contact-free. We also have Adam Lipman and Jake Rinsler back from university, while goalkeeper Ross Weinrabe has joined us full-time. He will start the season as our No. 1.

    Recent arrival Lee Goldberg has “looked very impressive in training,” but Nick Landesberg and Jordan Marks face lengthy spells on the sidelines through injury, while Adam Burchell is in America on a football scholarship.

    Landesberg is convinced Liron Mannie can prove himself to be a star during the campaign. “Liron’s a monster,” enthused Landesberg. “He’s an incredibly fit lad and he eats up the pitch when he’s running. I have so much belief in his quality.”

    After the opener against Codicote, the Lions will face a midweek fixture in Enfield before hosting Wembley in an extra preliminary round of the FA Cup and their manager is looking for strong runs in cup competitions.

    “Last season, the target was a top six finish in the league and some silverware. The boys delivered,” said Landesberg. “Much depends on keeping our players fit this season. If we get through the first six weeks OK, promotion is our goal. We know what we’ve got to deal with but it won’t be easy.

    “We’re another year older and another year more experienced as a team and hopefully it’ll be a case of all guns blazing by the end of the year.

    “The squad is as excited as can be going into the season and there is a great buzz around the place. Our rivals will be surprised by our tactics which include a change of formation, with us playing three at the back, led by experienced defender Adam Myeroff.”

    The Lions will run a Development XI again this season, led by Tony Gold, Steve Grenfell and Darren Yarlett. Landesberg said: “They’ll work with the younger members of the first team squad and U18 players. We hope to play one or two matches every month, with a view to re-establishing a reserve team in the future.”

    Landesberg will combine his duties at Lions together with managing Maccabi GB in the Open Football competition at the European Maccabi Games in Budapest next summer. He expects several members of his squad to join him in Hungary and predicts “an exciting 12 months ahead”.

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