Bert van Marwijk does not feel that the upcoming away fixtures at Roda JC and PSV will define Feyenoord’s season, as his team’s strengths have been amply shown in preseason and the opening matches of the campaign. The Feyenoord coach does admit however that these games will give him a good idea of what he can get out of his squad. ‘I’m very curious,’ says Van Marwijk, who feels Roda JC are in the hunt for a European place this season.

Van Marwijk has had little to complain about this week. The coach lost just a handful of players on international duty, which has meant that training has not been disrupted as much as it might have been. ‘And that has not always been the case here,’ admits Van Marwijk.

Everyone was available for Friday training, apart from Sherif Ekramy, who only arrived back in the country in the early hours. Van Marwijk felt the session was ‘very useful’ in any event. The coach was expecting his players to find it tough to get back into the way he wants them to play and he was not proven wrong. ‘I stopped the session a couple of times. I was dissatisfied, but at the same time it was a good thing. At least you can respond.’

Feyenoord will need to be on form to take all three points away from Limburg and there’s no question of the Rotterdammers underestimating the opposition. Listening to Van Marwijk Friday you could almost say the contrary is true. ‘Roda JC are a good team. When you see the calibre of players they had on the bench away at VVV, it’s clear they have a strong squad. They are very unpredictable in attack. I think they have a good chance of making Europe.’

Feyenoord will go after three points without Jacob Lensky, Tim Vincken and Serginho Greene. The trio are all close to fitness, but Van Marwijk feels they are not yet match fit and they will play for the reserves next Tuesday. They may be back in the frame for the PSV game. Andwelé Slory and Dwight Tiendalli will not be however, as they are ruled out with injuries for some time to come.

Feyenoord will be in for a tough game at Roda JC at the weekend if last season is anything to go by. The hosts ended up sixth then, mainly due to an impressive run-in. That said, it’s difficult to say whether he Limburg outfit will be able to repeat the trick this time round. Coach Raymond Atteveld’s side currently lie fifth, but six of their seven points have come against relegation favourites Heracles and VVV-Venlo.

A review of the ins and outs over the summer also provides few clues as to how much quality Atteveld has at his disposal. Kemy Agustien, Vladan Kujovic, Adil Ramzi and Edrissa Sonko are all players with Eredivisie experience who have left the club.

They were replaced by a whole host of signings that will be new to all but the most knowledgeable of fans. Fatih Sonkaya wore the Roda jersey until two seasons back, but names like Roland Lamah, Cliff Mardulier, Cheik Tioté and Przemyslaw Tyton are untested in the Dutch league. The Belgians Lamah and Matondo have made bright starts though, with two goals each in the first three games.

Roda JC is one of the few Eredivisie outfits to regularly dip into the second tier for its signings. `Eredivisie newcomers and neighbours Venlo have sold quite a number of players to their Limburg cousins and many of them have been a success, including Marcel Meeuwis. Willem Janssen and Frank van Kouwen made the same journey this summer.

The strategy of blending in lower tier players with obscure foreigners has paid off in recent years, as Roda JC has matured into a team that consistently finishes in the top half of the table. The visit of Feyenoord is the first real test of whether this year’s crop is up to the task.

Roda JC – Feyenoord
Sunday 16 September, 12:30 at Parkstad Limburg Stadium

Roda JC: Castro; De Fauw, Saeijs, Kah, De Jong; Tioté, Meeuwis, Janssen, Lamah; Oper, Matondo
Feyenoord: Timmer; Lucius, Vlaar, Hofland, De Cler; Sahin, Hofs, Van Bronckhorst; De Guzman, Makaay, Bruins

04/03/2007 Feyenoord - Roda JC 1-1
22/01/2006 Feyenoord - Roda JC 0-0
13/03/2005 Feyenoord - Roda JC 4-1
28/03/2004 Feyenoord - Roda JC 3-0
29/05/2003 Feyenoord - Roda JC 3-1

29/10/2006 Roda JC - Feyenoord 1-2
20/11/2005 Roda JC - Feyenoord 2-3
17/10/2004 Roda JC - Feyenoord 0-2
19/10/2003 Roda JC - Feyenoord 1-1
24/08/2002 Roda JC - Feyenoord 2-2
Feyenoord Business CLub