Roda JC are back in the Dutch top flight after a season in the Eerste Divisie, but do they have the strength to avoid another relegation?

  • By Michael Bell
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roda badAfter 41 consecutive seasons in the Eredivisie, Roda JC finished rock bottom in 2014 to send the Kerkrade side down to the 2nd tier of Dutch football for the first time since 1973. However after finishing third, Roda JC shocked NAC Breda in the end of season play-offs to earn a instant return to the Eredivisie.

Its been a quiet summer for Darije Kalezic’s side in terms of transfers, and with a weak looking squad on paper, can Roda JC re-establish themselves back in the Eredivisie?

Summer Transfers

Only four players have arrived at the Parkstad Limburg Stadion this summer. Australian midfielder Royston Griffiths, experienced defender Gibril Sankoh, midfielder Jens van Soh, and forward Santiago Palacios from amateur side De Treffers. Former PSV midfielder Farshad Noor has been taken on trial and could earn a deal.

Despite the lack of in-comings, ten players have been shown the door, with experienced striker Frank Demouge among the players released, while key players Timo Letschert and Guy Ramos have both left the club for Utrecht and FC Wil respectively.

Pre-season

Roda JC started with two big wins against amateur clubs, 7-0 v LHC and a huge 26-0 win over Gulpen, followed by a 2-1 victory against EVV. However they lost their first test against German side Aachen 1-0 before a 2-1 loss to fellow Eredivisie side Groningen. They end their pre-season with a tie against Helmond Sport on the 1st of August.

Strongest line-up

Van Leer, Dijkhuizen, Swinkels, Sankoh, Van Peppen, Faik, Van Hyfte, Griffiths, Van Son, Gyasi, Jansen

Key Players

jansen rodaAnco Jansen

The 26-year-old has been hit by injuries since he joined Roda JC from De Graafschap, but he proved to be a key player last season, scoring four goals in 17 Eerste Divisie appearances. A versatile player, Jansen can play in midfield or on the wing, but with the club short of strikers, he could start the season through the middle. In pre-season he has proved his goalscoring ability, netting eight in the big win over Gulpen.

biemans rodBart Biemans

The 27-year-old centre back has became an ever present in the Roda JC backline since joining from Willem II in 2011. A presence at the back and a threat going forward, Biemans was not only excellent in defence last season, he finished as the clubs top scorer in the Eerste Divisie with seven goals.

Youngster to watch

ciciliaRigino Cicilia

The 20-year-old forward is yet to make his official first team debut for the club, but during pre-season he has impressed with four goals, including one against Groningen in their last friendly. With a lack of strikers at the club, Cicilia may get a chance to impress from the bench, and if the Curucao youth international can net a few goals he could quickly establish himself in the first team.

Prediction 

Roda JC may be back in the Eredivisie, but on paper they currently have one of the weakest squads in the division. It will be a major worry for Kalezic that more signings have not been made so far this summer, with several needed to avoid an instant drop back to the Eerste Divisie. Fellow new boys De Graafschap and NEC Nijmegen appear more ready for the top flight, and if a goal scorer is not signed in the next few weeks, then i predict a season of struggling in Kerkrade.

Prediction: Bottom three




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