DEREK Adams believes Ross County are in for a beneficial culture shock tonight (Friday) when they take on Dutch side FC Den Bosch.
In the SPL newcomers’ first fixture abroad, County play a team who narrowly missed out on promotion to the Netherlands’ top flight last season.
Adams, an admirer and something of a student of Dutch football, is under no illusions as to just how tough an examination County will be given.
The team make a 100-mile journey from their training base at the impressive Delden sports complex near Enschede this morning.
Den Bosch is situated in the south of the country, just north of Eindhoven and is capital of the Noord-Brabant region. Adams expects to encounter opposition brimming in technical ability and also with a strong competitive edge.
He said: “The FC Den Bosch game will be a good culture shock for us as they like to keep and pass the ball.
“They will be the kind of team who swing diagonal balls from left to right and right to left and move it very well. We were looking for a club to play and so were they, so it just fitted in well.
“Freddy Van Der Hoorn who played for Dundee United and Dunfermline is there as director of football, although he is not somebody I know.
“I feel it will be probably our sternest test so far in pre-season. I know we played Coventry and they were as excellent side, but I think this will be the hardest game of the lot.
“And it’s important we have that before the following week’s SPL opener against Motherwell.
“Den Bosch were pushing at the end of last season for promotion to the top tier in Holland and just missed out in the play-offs.
“They will be very good indeed technically but I also expect them to be strong physically.
“They are big, strong players but they can pass the ball and move it around. All round, it is going to be something we have to adapt – and in the heat as well, it will be tough.
“It has been roasting here for the last few days. We’re topping up our tans but burning as well with a lot of good, hard double sessions.
“It is good to have a hard game before the Motherwell match. We’ll try to use as many of the players as we possibly can. But it has been a good pre-season and we’ve given individuals a lot of match minutes in a lot of games.”
County have settled well at their Delden base after arriving on Sunday.
As well as state-of-the-art training facilities, there is a host of leisure activities including golf, tennis and swimming.
Adams stressed: “It is a great facility for the players to work and relax in.
“We have come here to work hard and the players have put in some great work.
“But we are enjoying it and will learn from it.
“I have adopted a passing style of game at County for a number of years.
“It is important the way we move the ball, how quickly we move it and how comfortable in possession we are.
“We work on that every day and that probably does come from the Dutch influence.
“I went to AZ Alkmaar to do a study visit for my pro license and they are an excellent club.”
With great competition for places within the squad of 24 now, Adams admitted: “It will be difficult to select a team, without doubt, because they have all performed very well.
“There will be six players who miss out on the Saturday and it will be difficult for them.
“Players have pushed their case for inclusion and fitness levels have been good. We haven’t picked up many injuries, which is always a boost in pre-season.
“Having the strength in depth we have makes it more difficult for me as manager. A lot of the players are of a similar quality.
“But we have a squad of 24 players and we will need all of them throughout this season.”
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