Dutch D-Day for Town squad members

IPSWICH TOWN: Opportunity will knock for a number of Blues fringe players in Holland at the weekend.

With a rather sparse pre-season programme, chances to impress manager Roy Keane before the big Championship kick-off at Middlesbrough on August 7 will be few and far between.

But the game at former European champions PSV Eindhoven, who finished third in the Eredivisie last season, on Saturday gives the likes of Owen Garvan, Jon Stead, Alex Bruce and Pablo Counago a stage on which to put themselves back into the manager’s thoughts.

If one or two of those – and any of the other four made available for transfer – impress it could ease Keane’s frustrations at being unable to enter the transfer market and secure the immediate futures of the players concerned.

Unlike the 9-1 win at Newmarket Town and the 6-0 success at Histon, the Dutch encounter will be a real test, and could bring a number back in from the cold.

It will be a big game for some as will the home game against West Ham on July 31, and a big culture shock after two easy wins against non-league opposition.

Keane said: “Every player will get a chance to show what they can do.

Most Read

“We have decent numbers in terms of the squad we have.

“I think every manager would like one or two new faces, but it’s not happened.

“The players we brought in last year we hope will have a better start to the season than they did last year.

“We’ll have more of a settled squad now, and this might help us a little bit.”

PSV, who were twice managed by Sir Bobby Robson and had Brazilian star Ronaldo on their books in the early nineties, returned to pre-season training at the end of last month and enjoyed a 4-1 friendly win at First Division FC Den Bosch last week.

Bragging rights will be at stake when they meet FC Eindhoven at the Jan Louwers Stadium tonight with the Town game the climax to a special ‘Meet the Players Day’ on Saturday.

Coach Fred Rutten has completed the signing of Brazilian defender Marcelo from Polish club Wisla Krakow. The 23-year-old is the 18th Brazilian player to sign for PSV including Ronaldo and Romario, while Arjen Robben and Ruud Gullit were also on their books.

Current Turkey coach Guus Hiddink twice managed PSV and Dick Advocaat and Ronald Loeman are previous manages, and it was in 1988 – under the management of Hiddink – that they won the European Cup.

They won the UEFA Cup in 1978 and have been triumphant in the Eredivsie 21 times – the last in 2007/08.

PSV had two players in the Dutch World Cup squad in South Africa – defender Andre Ooijer and midfielder Ibrahim Afellay with neither expected to ace Town.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter