DAVID SMITH - Saturday, May 14, 2011
Following several months in search of a new club, Euan Holden is happy to have landed back in Denmark just in time to help FC Hjørring in their final push to stay in the First Division.
The Aberdeen-born Houston native spent a brief spell in the country one year before with Vejle BK, however a series of injuries throughout the spring severely limited his time on the field, with him and the club deciding to part ways heading into last summer.
He did, however, make enough of an impression to attract the attention of newly-promoted club FC Hjørring, who extended to him the opportunity to lend his talents to their squad as they try to lengthen their stay in the Danish second flight.
"It is never easy to jump straight into a team when you have not been there the first two-thirds of the season but the coaches and players have helped make the transition a smooth one," Holden evaluated of dealing with the difficulties of joining the team only for their final few games.
"The hardest part about coming into a team who are in a relegation battle is keeping the moral up and provide a spark and energy that can help to lift the other players."
Hjørring have put forth a respectable showing in their first-ever season on this level of the Danish league pyramid, however are unsurprisingly struggling as the season comes down to the wire.
With four games remaining, they are inside the relegation zone by the narrowest of margins, with only goal differential currently keeping them below the line.
Their schedule could offer a reprieve, as three of their last four games are against teams either within the bottom three, or still within danger of dropping down.
"I think there is both advantages and disadvantages playing against the teams we are around in the league because everyone is fighting to stay in the first division," the former Austin Aztex player ruminates about the effect of their upcoming schedule, "[however] no team at the top is giving out free points."
"The games will all be very tough but I believe we have the right players and coaches to survive," he continues.
Even though he was out with a minor injury for the team's most recent game, an impressive 1-1 draw with already-promoted AGF Aarhus, Holden had started their previous game against Køge, and sees himself able to help the team from multiple points on the field.
"I have only been playing left midfield, which is the same position I was playing in Vejle," he explains, "though [the coaches] are aware I can play left back and center midfield if needed."
In the months prior to his return to Denmark, the Houston Dynamo draftee had undergone several trials with clubs throughout the United Kingdom. Even though none of them ultimately landed him a contract offer, he enjoyed the experience to work with different clubs, and is happy to have come into a situation at Hjørring where he can immediately contribute.
"I had a great experience in England and was very fortunate to get to train with Bolton Wanderers and go on trial with some great clubs," he explains. "For numerous reasons things didn't go my way this time around and the opportunity arose through my agent to sign with FC Hjørring and help them survive relegation."
"I dont have a certain preference about playing in Denmark," he continues, "but the players coaches and fans are very passionate about [soccer] and was a good opportunity to get back playing and help out a club with lots of great people working in and around it."
His current contract with the far northern club does only extend through the end of the current season, but with the club's future still to be determined, he is not letting thoughts of next season distract him from the task at hand.
"I have not thought a great deal about next season, just staying focused on the remainder of this season and helping Hjørring stay in the first division," he concludes.
Holding expects to be fit to play by the weekend, as Hjørring face the first of four do-or-die games on Sunday afternoon when they visit Kolding, who are ahead of them only on goal differential.