MIDWEEK VISIT TO NIJMEGEN NEXT ON THE AGENDA

After over a month without a competitive game, Feyenoord play their second league game in four days Wednesday. An away game at NEC is no easy task, but confidence must be returning after Sunday’s fine comeback against FC Utrecht. That said, Johan Neeskens’s team finished fifth last season and coach Van Marwijk will be first to point out that NEC will not be underestimated.

The coach is frustrated with the lengthening list of injuries at De Kuip. ‘I have eighteen players left. They’ll all be travelling. The latest loss is Edwin Zoetebier, who has a shoulder problem that demands rest. Malek Malkowski takes his place on the bench. Otherwise, Patrick Lodewijks is fit enough to play, despite bruising a foot Sunday. Feyenoord will be hoping for a better start to the game than Sunday’s when the Rotterdammers found themselves two done early on. It wasn’t the first time that has happened this campaign. ‘We don’t know why that is,’ admitted Van Marwijk. ‘It has been shown that we concede a lot of goals in the opening minutes, but you can talk about it too much. We just have to not let it bother us too much.’ Bert van Marwijk is very happy with the progress of Danko Lazovic. The Serb scored twice last Sunday and looked fresh. ‘I’m happy that he is banging on the door so emphatically. He’s had a difficult first six months. Danko made an enormous impression in his first few weeks here, then it got tougher. And Danko didn’t know what he was doing wrong. For him it was a disappointment not to play. But I told him that he always had my confidence. Now he’s starting to understand nicely. Danko is on his way back.’ The coach was not ready to say that the Serb would be a starter against NEC however. A definite non-starter is Hossam Ghaly, who preferred the Africa Cup rather than his club. That’s something that hasn’t impressed Van Marwijk. ‘Ghaly just cannot comprehend that he still has so much to learn. It seems that he thinks he is better than the rest of the squad. It would have been better for his development if he had trained with us every day. If you opt for the national team at the drop of a hat you’ll never get used to Dutch football. I’m convinced that Ghaly would have been eighty percent better if he’d taken part in every training session since his arrival at Feyenoord. And the injury to Ono made this the ideal time to give him some pitch time. When he gets back I’ll tell him again it’s better to prioritise your club more.’ HOLLAND CASIO EREDIVISIE, WEDNESDAY 28 JANUARY 2004 NEC NIJMEGEN-FEYENOORD Kickoff: 8pm Venue: De Goffert Probable teams Feyenoord Lodewijks; Song, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Van Haaren; Smolarek, Pardo, Schreuder, Van Persie; Buffel, Kuyt. NEC Gentenaar; Wisgerhof, Govedarica, Wielaert, Leiwakabessy; Schuurman, Heije, Van der Doelen, Simr; Demouge, Niedzielan.
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