PREVIEW: EINDHOVEN - HELMOND SPORT
Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport return from their winter break for a round of Friday night Eerste Divisie action at second-place neighbors FC Eindhoven.
Helmond will need to hit the ground running on Friday as they get back to action following a four-week break, with the first of two games in a busy three-day period.
They ended 2011 on a terrible run of four straight losses, and will hope that their first game of the year will bring a reversal of the trend. Kazlauskas and his teammates will have their work cut out for them, however, as they are facing a second-place FC Eindhoven squad that has their sights set on promotion to the Eredivisie.
Eindhoven were also unspectacular in their closing games of last year, winning only once in four tries. The final moments were perhaps the worst, as they were knocked out of the Dutch Cup by way of a 90th-minute goal by Vitesse Arnhem despite playing much of the second half with a man advantage.
Both teams will be missing a number of players due to injury and suspension.
At the top of the absentee list for Helmond are defender Guus Joppen and midfielder Juanito Sequeira, both out due to suspension. In addition, defender Philipp Haastrup, forwards Sebastian Stachnik, Pepijn Veerman and Marc Nygaard along with midfielders Benjamin Bahtiri and Ayden Kuijpers are all injured.
For the hosts, defender Eric Addo and keeper Jelle Merkx could both return to the field after missing games with various injuries, however forward Josemar Makiavala and the defensive trio of Ruud van der Rijt, Jelle de Bock and Joep Zweegers are all still expected to miss the contest.