New signings Acuña and Meshal failed to make the deadline, and Smolarek, Song, Leonardo and Collen remain unavailable, but both Paul Bosvelt and Thomas Buffel were able to train Saturday, along with Bombarda and Zoetebier, so Bert van Marwijk will be picking his team from a big squad of players, after months of improvisation.
Perhaps most interesting will be Van Marwijk’s choice to partner Pierre van Hooijdonk in attack Thomas Buffel, the surprise package this season and Robin van Persie, long-time enfant terrible, but maturing fast, are vying for the honour, but Bert van Marwijk appeared to favour the Belgian Friday, ‘although Robin’s good attitude has perked me up. He has given me an extra option. I like having to make this kind of choice. The two players have specific qualities and specific value to the team.’
Patrick Paauwe has been handed the leftback position for good. ‘It is a structural solution for now, also because Gérard de Nooijer has been excellent in the centre of defence. I remain hopeful about Ramon van Haaren’s full recovery, but we’ll have to give him the time to get back with games in the reserves.’
Patrick Lodewijks starts in goal. ‘Edwin Zoetebier is fit. He’ll be on the bench. He hasn’t kept goal for three months, so he’ll have to build up some rhythm,’ explained Van Marwijk. The coach is clearly looking forward to the challenges ahead. ‘I saw signs of progress in December. You don’t beat AZ 6-1 just like that and we deserved more at NAC after our first half performance. We have continued along that line in the training camp and in Glasgow. I don’t know how things will pan out in the next few weeks, but I’m satisfied at the moment.’
For FC Twente, former Feyenoord target Simon Cziommer, who this week chose Schalke ’04 ahead of the Rotterdammers, ends up in the Kuip anyway.
HOLLAND CASINO EREDIVISE
Sunday 2 February 2003
Venue: The Kuip
Lodewijks; Emerton, Van Wonderen, De Nooijer, Paauwe; Kalou, Bosvelt, Ono, Pardo; Buffel (Van Persie) en Van Hooijdonk
Boschker (Paauwe); El Brazi, Grujic, Pothuizen, Heubach; Van de Paar, Cziommer, Ouedraogo (John), Polak; Cavens en Houwing (Booth)