RICH FIDLER - Wednesday, December 23, 2009
American Charles Kazlauskas will start in midfield as Helmond Sport travels to De Grolsch Veste in Enschede on Wednesday night in KNVB Cup action to face Eredivisie club FC Twente.
Helmond reached the final 16 of competition fairly easily knocking off amateur Hoofdklasse club ASWH by a 5-0 score in the previous round, but have the toughest draw of the lot against the current Eredivisie leaders Twente.
Their hopes of passing into January's quarterfinals are hinging on turning around their stagnant play as of late, which has seen them drop two of three and only taking one point in that span of time.
Helmond head coach Jürgen Streppel will still be without midfielder Sjaak Lettinga and defender Sjoerd Winkens, both of whom are still recovering from long-term injuries and have not factored for the team in months.
The Reds, who are at the top of the Eredivisie standings, are lead by former England National Team manager Steve McClaren and are one of the hottest teams in Europe, having won 15 of their first 17 league games to rack up an astonishing 47 points.
They finished just below AZ Alkmaar in second place last season to earn a berth in the Europa League, where they have qualified for a round of 32 date in February against German team Werder Bremen.
The home team has a variety of players on the squad via loans including Chelsea's Serbian defender Slobodan Rajković . The 20-year old returned from a three-month injury layoff last week against Steaua Bucharest.
They'll be without midfielder Theo Janssen, who was suspended for two months by the team at the end of November, following a car crash in which the player was under the influence of alcohol.