DE KUIP OPEN FOR BUSINESS AGAIN SUNDAY

The football season resumes after the winter break Sunday when FC Utrecht visit the Kuip in an Eredivisie encounter. So after a series of friendly wins it’s back to the battle for points against the team that trounced Feyenoord in last year’s Amstel Cup final. The signs are good however. Feyenoord are almost invincible at De Kuip this season, with seven wins out of eight.

Bert van Marwijk will have to mastermind a victory without a number of players however. Besides long-term injuries (Leonardo, De Nooijer, Snoyl), the coach has to do without Kalou (hamstring), Ghaly, Gyan, Lurling and Ono. The Japanese international will be the most sorely missed. ‘The estimate is four weeks without Shinji,’ says Van Marwijk. ‘I hope it won’t be longer. But he is still limping. He has got rid of the crutches but Shinji is still in a lot of pain.’ The probability is that Alfred Schreuder will fill the vacancy created by Ono’s absence. ‘That will change our game a little. Schreuder usually plays more withdrawn. But of course, I haven’t got much choice,’ admitted the coach. There are lots of whispers about incoming and outgoing coaching and playing staff floating around De Kuip, not least about Robin van Persie. Will he or won’t he? ‘I wouldn’t know,’ said the coach. Reserve keeper Edwin Zoetebier has also been linked with a move. ‘Volendam asked about him, but I want to have two good keepers. So he’s not allowed to leave. Malkowski is doing well, but he doesn’t have the same quality as Edwin and Patrick.’ HOLLAND CASINO EREDIVISE, Sunday 25 January 2004 Feyenoord-FC Utrecht Kick-off: 2.30pm Venue: De Kuip Probable teams Feyenoord Lodewijks; Song, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Van Haaren; Smolarek, Pardo, Schreuder, Van Persie; Buffel, Kuyt FC Utrecht Ponk, Lamey, Zwaanswijk, Touzani, Bosschaart, De Jong, Broerse, Chaiat, Van den Bergh, Tanghe, Van de Haar

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