There will be a lot of questions asked of Ruud Gullit’s Feyenoord over the coming weeks, with some tough league games and the start of the Uefa Cup group phase on the to-do list between now and mid-November. First of the agenda is a tricky encounter at Roda JC Sunday lunchtime. The Kerkrade club has had a so-so start to the season and are nestled in mid-table, but with a number of key Feyenoorders returning from World Cup duty Gullit will be hoping the fatigue factor doesn’t kick in.

The international calendar is a cause for concern for any coach at a top club. His players are more susceptible to injury of course, but fatigue also plays a role. Shinji Ono and Chong-Gug Song flew halfway round the world and back in midweek to represent their homelands. Danko Lazovic picked up an ankle knock against San Marino, but what keeps the Serb out of Thankfully, he’ll be the only international to miss Sunday’s game, but coach Gullit knows that the others are not out of the woods yet. ‘We have to hope that they are not jaded, we’ll see that in a match.’

The coach mentioned the performances of Castelen and Kuyt in the national team and their current development in Rotterdam when he talked to the press Friday. ‘They have grown up fast, especially Castelen. There is always a dip, and I’m expecting one. For me it’s interesting to see how the lads handle it. Kuyt has also had a couple of less good games. But he has been valuable, has scored goals and has handled it well. That dip will come for Castelen sometime too. There are days he’s tired, but up to now he’s fighting his way through it. It does surprise me. They both did well for Oranje. Kuyt was the spark, he was wholehearted and pulled others with him. Castelen was valuable too, but is used in the Dutch team in another way than we use him. In the Dutch team he is dependent on the right-half. If the right-half doesn’t give him the ball, there’s not a lot he can do. In that case he gets long balls from the defender he cannot do anything with. But he is valuable in that style of play too. He often takes two men with him, which the team is able to profit from. I felt he did well. At Feyenoord he has another role. He can get involved in the play much more. He can move inside, sees a lot more of the ball, which makes him less dependent.’

Sunday kicks off a tough series for Feyenoord with Hearts, RKC Waalwijk, AZ, Ferencvaros and Ajax all lining up to take a put at the Maassiders. It’s something Ruud Gullit is certainly looking forward to and at the end of it he’ll know a lot more about what his squad are capable of.

Romeo Castelen had a minor knee problem Friday, but he’s expected to be fit to face the Limburg outfit. Danko Lazovic’s flu keeps him out of the reckoning, alongside long-term treatment room regulars Sebastián Pardo and Ramon van Haaren. But there is a slither of good news for Van Haren, who has been getting back into the swing in the reserves. ‘He’s doing well,’ confirms Gullit. ‘But he’s had a long way to come, so we have to be patient with him. There are some things he shouldn’t be doing yet. He’s developing steadily in the reserves. But when he finally gets fit it will take at least another year before he’s back to his former level. I speak from experience, because I went through the same thing. It’s very frustrating, because you cannot do everything. But he’s certainly on the right track.’

Holland Casino Eredivisie

Date: Sunday 17 October
Time: 12:30 pm
Place: Parkstad Limburg Stadion
Referee: Luinge

Likely line-ups
Feyenoord: Babos; Song, Saidi, Paauwe, Basto; Castelen, Ono, Bosschaart, Goor; Kuyt, Kalou.
Roda JC: Kujovic; Senden (Bodnar), Brouwers, Luijpers, Filipovic; Sergio, Van Dijk, Vicelich, Van Dessel; Cristiano, Koné


28/3/2004 Feyenoord - Roda JC 3-0
29/5/2003 Feyenoord - Roda JC 3-1
3/2/2002 Feyenoord - Roda JC 5-0
5/11/2000 Feyenoord - Roda JC 4-2
6/2/2000 Feyenoord - Roda JC 2-1

19/10/2003 Roda JC – Feyenoord 1-1
24/8/2002 Roda JC – Feyenoord 2-2
22/8/2001 Roda JC – Feyenoord 0-2
29/4/2001 Roda JC - Feyenoord 1-0
15/10/1999 Roda JC - Feyenoord 2-1

Feyenoord Business CLub