Hendon manager David Garbacz has warned treble-chasing rivals Norstar to forget about winning any silverware this season, saying his side will beat them in this weekend’s Peter Morrison cup quarter-final tie, before going on to claim an historic third treble.
Speaking ahead of Sunday morning’s eagerly-awaited clash, Garbacz said: “While the two squads are incredibly closely matched, I just think we have the extra experience and big game players to see us over the line. I also genuinely think that Sunday’s winner will go on to win the treble – that is how big a game this is. ”
With both sides battling it out for the Premier Division title, and set to meet in the final of the Cyril Anekstein Cup – if Hendon can beat Neasden in their semi-final – Garbacz believes the winners of this tie will hold the psychological edge going into the crucial final stages of the season. “This is probably our biggest game of the season and we will desperately be wanting to gain the psychological upper hand with a win,” he says. “We have a great record against them – I don’t think they’ve beaten us in a number of seasons and this will eat away at them. We have more natural game changers and match winners – I wouldn’t swap my squad for anything.
Despite his confidence, he does have “enormous amount of respect for Norstar” saying, “they have some brilliant players and a very strong squad. They have achieved everything bar silverware in recent seasons and will be desperate for some.”
The sides have already played out a 2-2 draw in the League this season, though Garbacz doesn’t believe that will have an impact on Sunday’s game. “It won’t have any bearing on this match,” he said. “That day both teams had chances to win and the draw was a fair outcome. This time we play to the death – there must be a winner so we need to be prepared to go the distance even to penalties if need be.
And knowing history beckons for his side, he said: “We’ve already created history by winning the treble twice and want to go down in Jewish football folklore as one of, if not the greatest teams of all time by winning it for a third time.”
“This match will be no place for the feint hearted – may the best team win!”
Raiders’ manager Rob Richman is also under no illusion as to the importance of the tie, though doesn’t believe the result will have a bearing on the title run-in. He said: “We’d be delighted to get a result on Sunday, mainly as it would put us into the last four of the cup, whether it would have any impact on the title run in I’m not so sure. It’s the last eight of the national cup, both sides will be supremely motivated to win the game and be in the semi-finals.”
But conceding it will be a ‘special’ game, he said: “The fact it’s Hendon, a team we have a great amount of respect for and a side who are our closest competitors, makes it an extra special game. I know that players from both teams are extremely excited about it and can’t wait for the game.
“We’re confident, particularly on the back of some very good results over the last month or so and it will be important that we put in a performance to match those of recent weeks. We know it won’t be easy against a very talented Hendon side but we have the belief, determination and talent to get a result.”
And not believing the 2-2 draw between the sides will have any bearing on this match, he said: “I’m not sure it will have much of a bearing on Sunday. That was a very good game played at a high level where either side could have ended up victorious. I have no doubt it is going to be another closely contested affair where one moment of magic could win it for either side. But overall it just promises to be a very good game and I’m sure another superb advert for the league.”