After flirting with relegation last season, Heracles Almelo will be hoping for a more comfortable campaign in the Eredivisie, but can they cope without star man Bryan Linssen?

  • By Michael Bell
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heracles loHeracles Almelo started last season in record breaking fashion, losing nine of their opening ten games, but they eventually recovered to maintain their Eredivisie status, finishing 14th.

Most of the credit for the recovery could be given to the excellent form of attacker Bryan Linssen, who scored ten goals and added eight assists, with five of those goals helping the club to four wins in their last six games. However with Linssen departing for Groningen, who can coach John Stegeman rely on to steer the club away from the drop zone this season?

Summer Transfers

Along with the departure of Linssen to Groningen, defender John Veldmate has departed for Viborg, Dennis Telgenkamp left for Emmen, and Daan Rienstra joined RKC. Experienced midfielder Simon Cziommer has also left the club after his contract ended, and Denni Avdic returned to AZ after a loan spell.

Sparta Rotterdam striker Paul Gladon, who scored 13 goals last season, has been recruited, along with right back Tim Breukers from Twente, midfielder Peter van Ooijen from Go Ahead and defender Wout Droste from Cambuur. Youngsters Robin Gosens and Gino Bosz arrive from Vitesse.

Pre-Season

Wins over amateur clubs SVZW (3-0) and Almelose selectie (8-0) were followed with a draw against German side Bochum (1-1), and a defeat to Viktoria Koln (0-3). Heracles saw off Eerste Divisie’s Oss 2-1 before a 2-2 draw with Turkish club Sivasspor.

Strongest line-up

Castro, Droste, Te Wierik, Zomer, Gosens; Bruns, Van Ooijen, Fledderus; Darri, Gladon, Tannane

Key Players

gladon herPaul Gladon

With the loss of Bryan Linssen, Heracles needed to find a goalscorer and they have turned to Paul Gladon, who was impressive for Sparta Rotterdam in the Eerste Divisie last season. The 6ft 2 striker netted 13 goals last season, but will need to raise his game if he is to reach double figures in the Eredivisie. If Gladon adapts to the Dutch top flight,then the 23-year-old may be the man to keep Heracles away from danger.

fledderMark-Jan Fledderus

The 32-year-old is a crowd favourite in Almelo after two spells with Heracles, and his passion and leadership qualities will be needed to keep the club afloat this season. An experienced midfielder, who is also capable of dropping into defence,  Fledderus is also an accomplished set piece taker and his deliveries will be needed to find the height of Gladon or Wout Weghorst in the box.

Youngster to watch

darri fbfhfhfBrahim Darri

Darri was hugely impressive after swapping Vitesse for Heracles last January, scoring two goals for the club, and earning a call up for Netherlands U21’s for the Toulon Tournament this summer. Darri is a quick winger with excellent dribbling skills, and could replace the creativity lost with Linssen’s move to Groningen.

Prediction

Heracles Almelo have finished 14th in the last two Eredivisie campaign’s and have always looked like getting dragged into the fight to avoid the bottom three. This season is set to be no different, and without Linssen to bail them out, the squad doesn’t appear to have enough quality for a comfortable mid table position. The signings of Gladon, Van Ooijen and Breukers don’t look like improving the team, and the bottom three looks inevitable.

Predicted league position: 16th




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