Eredivisie: Vitesse defender Jan-Arie van der Heijden hails team's progress

Jan-Arie van der Heijden: Happy with Vitesse's start to the season

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Vitesse defender Jan-Arie van der Heijden is delighted by the team's progress this season as they continue their challenge at the top of the Eredivisie standings against Utrecht on Saturday.

The Arnhem club have recovered well from back-to-back defeats last month to put together a three-match unbeaten run - including a 1-0 victory over Ajax last week - which has moved them up to second.

Victory at home to Utrecht would lift Vitesse above AZ Alkmaar to the top of the table, and although Van der Heijden insists it is far too early to talk about potential targets, he is nevertheless impressed by their form.

"We are only 12 games into the season, so that doesn't tell us much," he said.

"Of more importance is the progress we have made as a squad.

"We have a strong squad and on the bench there are guys who are also very capable.

"We're playing with courage and daring and we aim to have most of the possession on Saturday against Utrecht, who can sometimes play tentatively but certainly have a strong side."

The Eredivisie standings could have a vastly different look to them at the end of the weekend as only three points separate the top eight sides.

FC Twente lie third, two points off the summit, and travel to seventh-placed PEC Zwolle on Sunday.

The Enschede club are without a win in their last three fixtures but midfielder Robbert Schilder still feels they have much to be happy about.

He told the club's website: "I'm excited about how the season has gone.

"The team are a little younger than last year and the energy in the team has increased."

AZ are looking to defend a three-match winning run but face a tricky test at fourth-placed Feyenoord on Sunday. The Rotterdam club have lost just once in their last nine games.

PSV Eindhoven will attempt to find their form again when they make the trip to NAC Breda, having not won in the league since October 6.

Ajax have also suffered a dip in results of late, but a 1-0 Champions League victory over Celtic in midweek will have raised confidence.

Frank de Boer's men will be favourite for three points on Sunday when they take on foot-of-the-table NEC Nijmegen, and the coach is hoping the European win will signal a change in fortunes.

"We have always had the desire to win but it seems we had it just that little bit more against Celtic," said De Boer.

"Of course that goal gave us confidence and we will take that. But we can't just stand there against NEC, we have to do the same again."

On Saturday, Roda JC will be aiming to extend their six-match unbeaten run at home to Go Ahead Eagles, Heracles Almelo host another in-form side, FC Groningen, while Cambuur Leeuwarden travel to ADO Den Haag for a match between two league strugglers.

RKC Waalwijk get the weekend's action under way on Friday night with a journey to Heerenveen.