VAN MARWIJK HOPING FOR EARLY XMAS PRESENT

Feyenoord face AZ in the final home game before the winter break in front of another sellout crowd at the Kuip Sunday knowing that a win is vital to stop the recent slide that culminated in last week’s defeat at Heereveen. Patrick Lodewijks starts in goal despite five bruised ribs, after Edwin Zoetebier had to bow out of the running. And Patrick Paauwe takes a step backwards to fill the vacant leftback spot.

Of course it’s all educated guesswork at the moment. ‘If you keep getting the points, you can wait before you change the team,’ Bert van Marwijk admitted. ‘That’s not happening any more and then you have to do something. Look for a better formation. But you’ll understand that I’ll be talking about it with my players first.’ What does seem likely is that Sebastián Pardo will start in place of Robin van Persie. ‘Sebastián is finding his feet and we cannot continue to hide behind the fact that he has been very ill,’ the coach says. ‘He is a great footballer, he’s already shown that. And he instils calmness into the team, because he is reliable and secure on the ball. Otherwise the same goes for him as it goes for everyone and that is that you can earn a first team place by commitment in training.’ The injury to Song means that Feyenoord have to try something new on the left side of defence. The position looks like being filled by Dutch international Patrick Paauwe, who played there for a good six months in the 1999 championship season. The latest switch will probably be a short one after the signing of Gérard de Nooijer. It is just a matter of time before the new boy steps in. ‘He hasn’t played for three months or so, but I definitely want him involved,’ Van Marwijk disclosed. With Paauwe at leftback Glenn Loovens looks certain to start in central defence. Elsewhere, Brett Emerton and Bonaventure Kalou return to their old positions, with the Ivorian in front of the Aussie down the right flank. Sunday 15 December 2002 Feyenoord-AZ Eredivise Venue: Kuip Kickoff: 2.30 pm Referee: Haverkort Probable team Lodewijks; Emerton, Van Wonderen, Loovens, Paauwe; Kalou, Bosvelt, Ono, Pardo; Van Hooijdonk, Buffel The History 10/3/2002 Feyenoord 4-1 AZ 19/8/2001 Feyenoord 2-0 AZ 30/4/2000 Feyenoord 5-3 AZ 30/1/2000 Feyenoord 1-3 AZ (Amstel Cup) 31/10/1998 Feyenoord 1-2 AZ 20/10/2001 AZ 1-3 Feyenoord 4/2/2001 AZ 0-3 Feyenoord 3/10/1999 AZ 0-0 Feyenoord 2/4/ 1999 AZ 0-2 Feyenoord 23/3/1997 AZ 0-2 Feyenoord
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