Practice match

League leaders Feyenoord travel to Groningen Sunday for an encounter that looks easy on paper. But although the northerners are currently on the slide and now find themselves third bottom of the Eredivisie and in a relegation playoff spot, Feyenoord will be wary. The Rotterdammers have lost their last two visits to the Oosterpark stadium and may not be helped by the one o’clock kick-off in what promises to be a passionate head-to-head.

Bert van Marwijk is seeking revenge for two years’ woe in Groningen. “Although the defeat last year was completely deserved, the way it happened was very sour. We lost to a hit-and-hope shot and we were forced to put out a weakened team. Sunday will be a different story altogether. We have to work every game to achieve the standards we expect, but I am very confident we can pull it off.” Aside from Glenn Loovens, out of action for up to a fortnight, Feyenoord will most likely start with the same eleven as midweek against Fortuna. Van Marwijk may decide to give Chris Gyan a go from the outset to allow Kees van Wonderen to take up his favoured position in midfield. But that would mean the chop for either Elmander or Smolarek and in all probability Van Wonderen will partner Patrick Paauwe in the heart of the defence. Pierre van Hooijdonk skipped Friday training, while Brett Emerton trained on his own, but both are expected to claim their shirts to start. Out of Africa, Bonaventure Kalou looks good for a place on the bench. “Kalou has come back from Africa looking good. He looks very fresh. Pierre wasn’t with today because he was given a rest day. Brett is having problems with his feet and is having trouble shooting. They’ll train with us Saturday. So I don’t see any problems for Sunday’s game.” PROBABLE TEAMS FC GRONINGEN Beukenkamp; Allach, Matthijs, Schoenmakers, Floren; Hoogstrate, Hugo (Van Gessel), Broerse, Krstev; Boussabon, Robben FEYENOORD: Zoetebier; Emerton, Van Wonderen, Paauwe, Rzasa; Smolarek, Bosvelt, Ono, Elmander; Tomasson, Van Hooijdonk
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