Leon Vlemmings appeared at the weekly press conference at De Kuip with mixed feelings Thursday afternoon. The departure of Gertjan Verbeek and Wim Jansen means that Vlemmings has lost two colleagues with whom he has developed a very close relationship over the past months. On the other hand, Vlemmings is focused on the next challenge, his first as caretaker coach: Friday’s Eredivisie match at sc Heerenveen.

The caretaker coach admitted that the past 24 hours flashed past like a film in fast-forward. Vlemmings had extensive discussions with the now departed Verbeek and Jansen while the club management met. ‘At one point the management called me up to ask if I would do the honours,’ said Vlemmings. ‘After consulting with people close to me and Gertjan, I decided to stick my neck out. Gertjan told me he understood the situation and said: “just do it”.’

Vlemmings came out of the discussion with the management feeling he had their confidence. ‘The club did not set any timetable. I’ll see how long it lasts. The players have shown the management and me directly that they believe in me. I’ve always had a great relationship with the players as an assistant’

‘What’s happened has happened,’ continued Vlemmings. ‘The two games against sc Heerenveen are now where our focus lies.’ According to Vlemmings, the team formation will change little. ‘It’s only logical that some things will be different now I’m the one with final responsibility. But the entire technical staff have been consulted about tactics during the past few months. So it would be very strange for me to now change things around completely.’

Thursday morning Vlemmings found the playing staff deflated after the departure of Verbeek, Jansen and Bosz. But there was no time to talk though Wednesday’s events. ‘We’ll look at things with the players over the coming days,’ said Vlemmings. ‘But not on Friday. The match against sc Heerenveen is the only thing that matters. It’s about putting in a performance there.’

Ten injured players will be unavailable to Vlemmings against the Frisians. Alongside treatment room season ticket holders Ron Vlaar and Jonathan De Guzman, they are Jon Dahl Tomasson, Kevin Wattamaleo, Kermit Erasmus, Denny Landzaat, Georginio Wijnaldum, Serginho Greene, Tim de Cler and Tim Vincken. ‘These eight players will train with the squad on Sunday or Monday,’ explained Vlemmings.


Sc Heerenveen look to be ready for the second half of the season. The Frisians have returned from a successful training camp in Turkey and restart their campaign with a near enough completed squad to chose from. Only keeper Kenny Steppe and midfielder Geert-Arend Roorda continue to suffer from injuries. Together with the suspended Christian Grindheim, they will be the only absentees when Feyenoord come a-visiting Friday evening.

Coach Trond Sollied has plenty of options, especially after the arrival during the winter break of two attack-minded Swedes, Viktor Elm and Patrik Ingelsten. Keeper Hans Vonk also returned to the Abe Lenstra Stadium after the injury to Kenny Steppe.

The Swedes are well known to Feyenoord of course. Both players went head to head with the Rotterdammers in this season’s Uefa Cup. Ingelsten was a handful in the first leg at De Kuip, although he didn’t score. Elm did of course, but Feyenoord eventually progressed after victory in Sweden.

Sc Heerenveen are currently sixth in the league. Interestingly for so highly placed a team, the Frisians have a negative goal difference – 36 for and 37 against. Only Sparta Rotterdam and bottom-placed FC Volendam have conceded more. It’s clear than that defence is not the Heerenveen’s strongest point. Two clean sheets in 17 league games this season corroborates that.

Things are going a lot better farther up the pitch, mind. Targetman Gerald Sibon is having a good season, but the plaudits have gone to danger man on the right wing Roy Beerens, who has already netted six and set up five this season, and goal threat Danijel Pranjic, who has eleven goals.

sc Heerenveen – Feyenoord
Friday 16 January, 20:45 at the Abe Lenstra Stadium

Referee: Nijhuis

sc Heerenveen:
Vandenbussche; Breuer, Bak Nielsen, Dingsdag, Popov; Väyrynen, Svec, Elm; Beerens, Sibon and Pranjic.
Feyenoord: Timmer; Tiendalli, Lucius, Hofland, Bahia; Slory, El Ahmadi, Fer, Van Bronckhorst, Biseswar; Makaay.

30/12/2007 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 1-1
29/04/2007 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 5-1
07/04/2006 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 1-1
28/11/2004 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 2-2
23/08/2003 SC Heerenveen - Feyenoord 1-0
26/10/2008 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 2-2
29/09/2007 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 2-0
03/12/2006 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 4-3
18/09/2005 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 5-1
01/05/2005 Feyenoord - SC Heerenveen 1-3

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