PSV coach Dick Advocaat expects a "fun game" against PEC Zwolle tomorrow night when his team will be looking to steal a march on their title rivals as the Eredivisie resumes after its winter break.
Advocaat's side head into the first round of matches in 2013 top of the table, level on points with second-placed FC Twente and three clear of champions Ajax and Feyenoord, who go head to head this weekend.
PEC drew 1-1 at Heracles Almelo in their last outing, on 22 December, to finish 2012 in 14th spot and only out of the relegation zone on goal difference, but Advocaat was impressed with what he saw in that match. "In that game they played well and it was very nice to see them play football. They had chances to win the game," he said. "I think it can be a fun game."
Young Dane Mathias Jorgensen looks set to feature in central defence after impressing Advocaat in December. "Zanka (Jorgensen) had the two games before the winter break and did well. I want to give him a chance," he added.
And Advocaat, who welcomes back left-back Erik Pieters after a lengthy absence due to a foot injury, does not believe fitness will be an issue for his players following the four-week hiatus. "This is a keen group," he added. "The signs on the training pitch look good."
Steve McClaren's Twente take on mid-table RKC Waalwijk on Saturday looking to continue where they left off following a 3-0 win at AZ Alkmaar last time out. Also on Saturday, fifth-placed Vitesse Arnhem visit AZ, Heerenveen host Heracles knowing victory would lift them above their tenth-placed visitors and NAC Breda tackle VVV-Venlo in a battle between two of the bottom three.
Ajax and Feyenoord meet at the Amsterdam ArenA in the highly-anticipated Klassieker on Sunday with all to play for at the summit. Feyenoord head coach Ronald Koeman believes his team have made big strides since finishing tenth in the 2010/11 season.
"They are ambitious and believe more and more in their own ability and that of the team," Koeman said of his players. "In that respect, the group has grown in 18 months. The confidence is good. We know exactly what we want and what we can achieve."
Teenage winger Jean-Paul Boetius, who scored on his debut in the corresponding fixture in October, added on www.feyenoord.nl: "It will be very tough, but I'm confident we can get three points."
FC Groningen will be without Maikel Kieftenbeld for Sunday's home match against FC Utrecht. The midfielder has not recovered from a knee injury sustained during the club's winter training camp in Spain. In other games on Sunday, bottom side Willem II play ADO Den Haag and relegation-threatened Roda JC take on European hopefuls NEC Nijmegen.