Feyenoord wary of underestimating Xerxes/DZB

Ronald Koeman has the luxury of being able to rest a number of first-team regulars for Thursday’s game against Xerxes/DZB. The coach feels the cup tie is a good opportunity to do that ahead of Sunday’s trip to league leaders FC Twente in the Eredivisie. ‘And I have every confidence in the team that will play against Xerxes tomorrow,’ he explained at the De Kuip on Wednesday. ‘That team should also be able to hold its own in the top five in the Eredivisie.’

Aware of the dangers of complacency, Koeman showed his squad footage of the amateurs on Wednesday morning so they would know what sort of challenge they could expect. ‘We have to take the game very seriously. Xerxes are a physically strong team that always play 4-3-3. It’s up to us to try to get a few early goals to put the game to bed quickly. We have to advance in the cup.’
Feyenoord will have to do that without Kelvin Leerdam in any case. The midfielder had been given until Thursday to chew over a proposed contract extension, but has told the club that he will not sign. Koeman described Leerdam’s decision as regrettable. ‘I’m a fan of his as a player,’ he explained. ‘I’m disappointed he doesn’t feel his future is at this club.’
In response Koeman has announced his intention to select another player in front of Leerdam for the remainder of the season, despite the youngster having earned himself a regular starting place this term. ‘I’ll carry on with players who see their future at Feyenoord. It’s my decision. I want to make a statement too. It frees up a place in midfield. I want to see who comes knocking on the door for it. A number of players have a chance, including Tonny Vilhena, Ruud Vormer and Harmeet Singh. In that context, the game against Xerxes/DZB is a good opportunity for certain players to show what they can do.’
Probable team: Lamprou, Elabdellaoui, De Vrij, Mathijsen, Nelom; Singh, Vormer, Vilhena; Schaken, Pellè, Goossens.

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