Hendon United A manager David Garbacz says his team will retain their Premier Division crown if it boils down to a battle of nerves between them and their title challengers.
Sunday’s goalless top-of-the-tabledraw with Redbridge A allowed Norstar London Raiders A to go joint-top of the table following their 5-0 win over FC Team A, meaning the second half of the season promises to be a three-way tussle to see who’s crowned champions in May.
Garbacz’s treble winners, who remain on course for another treble this season, are five points behind Redbridge and Norstar, though crucially have games in hand on both sides.
Saying his side can overtake both, and confident in their superiority, Garbacz said: “Of course we are still the team to beat – we’ve only lost once in nearly two seasons and every team we come up against would give everything to beat us. We’ve done it before and we can do it again – as long as it is in our own hands. We are always confident of overcoming any points deficit – the squad is strong but we do need to find the right balance. The key will be to not drop any stupid points against the teams we should beat, if we do that, I’m pretty confident we will be right up there again when the honours are dished out.”
And believing the chase for the title will end up being a two-horse race, he said: “Man for man this year is close, but with all due respect to Redbridge who have clearly improved no end since last year, it will come down once again to us and Raiders, both squads are very evenly matched. And if it comes down to bottle – we’ll win it.”
Redbridge manager Sam Rosenthal also believes Raiders will be involved in the title race, and is tipping them to deny Hendon securing another title win. He said: “On today’s showing, Raiders are still the team to beat. Hendon are strong but I think we showed in today’s game that we are the better side. We’re just looking forward to our next two games, against Raiders and then the reverse fixture against Hendon.”
Norstar manager Rob Richman has pinpointed next month as crucial to the outcome of the title race, saying: “January promises to be a really important month for us, especially when we face Redbridge and Hendon in consecutive games.
“We will continue to focus on our own performances and results and try to worry less about how everyone else is doing. This is what has served us well so far this year. We have a number of important players coming back from injury in 2015 and that should help our efforts as we look to mount a challenge across three different competitions.
“We’re very happy with our start to the season, but are only halfway through our league fixtures, a lot can happen as we move into the New Year.
“All we know is that it will take a very good side to finish above the likes of Hendon, Redbridge and Harmen too, but that is very much our aim.”
Following a mini-mid season break this weekend, League hostilities resume on 4 January when Norstar play host to Redbridge.