FEYENOORD READY AND SET TO GO

After weeks of challenging and less challenging matches against a wider range of opponents from home and abroad, Feyenoord’s season finally kicks off Sunday with a visit to FC Utrecht. The match at Galgenwaard Stadium is Bert van Marwijk’s first official game in charge in his second stint at the club and the coach must now prove that he has made the most of preseason to mould his players into a tight-knit squad.

In the last few matches of preseason Van Marwijk has been able to identify much of his first-choice eleven. The roles and responsibilities are clear in defence, but the coach still has to be creative in attack. His choices have been drastically reduced after the departure of Romeo Castelen and Royston Drenthe.

Van Marwijk solved the dilemma last week in the game against Schijndel by putting Luigi Bruins and Jonathan de Guzman on the wings, but the Canadian is suspended for the season curtain raiser due to his red card in the playoffs against FC Groningen at the end of the last campaign. It is likely that Andwelé Slory will deputise, provided the striker is passed fit. Slory was injured over a week ago against Liverpool and has not been in competitive action since. He did return to group training Thursday, but the fledgling international was unable to put his full weight behind a shot.

The problems are more substantial on the left wing. Tim Vincken is unavailable through injury, but Bruins is not a traditional outside left. Van Marwijk acknowledged without hesitation that reinforcing the squad in that area is Feyenoord’s number one priority. ‘It will have to be someone who goes well with Makaay,’ clarified the coach.

Van Marwijk would also like a big, strong striker to bolster his squad, admitting when asked that Jan Koller would be a good buy. ‘There aren’t many who are bigger and stronger than him. I think his shoe size is 52. I know him well and I know he’d like to come to Feyenoord. But I cannot say much more than that at the moment.’

Probable line-up:
Timmer; Lucius, Vlaar, Hofland, De Cler; Sahin, Hofs, Van Bronckhorst; Slory, Makaay, Bruins

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