DAVID SMITH - Friday, March 29, 2013
Conor O'Brien and Nordsjaelland will try to keep the momentum going when they welcome Midtjylland while Babajide Ogunbiyi and Hjørring need to be at their best at Vejle.
FC Nordsjaelland - FC Midtjylland
After looking their best in a imperious win over Aarhus, Conor O'Brien and the Wild Tigers will have momentum on their side when Midtjylland comes for a visit on Monday afternoon.
Nordsjaelland looked every bit the defending champions on Friday afternoon, scoring often and with ease on Aarhus.
While catching first-place Copenhagen beyond hope in all but the strictest mathematical sense, they are still locked in a battle with Randers for a return to next season's Champions League.
Their performance on Friday not only pushed the Wild Tigers into second place with a game in hand, but undoubtedly solidified their status as favorites to secure the much-coveted qualification spot.
O'Brien has fit into the team's starting lineup like glove since joining in January, claiming the left side of a three-man midfield in the team's dynamic 4-3-3 formation.
These two teams did face off recently, with each scoring a goal in the 1-1 draw three weeks ago. The Wolves will need a big push over the final nine games of the season if they hope to qualify for the Europa League, and will be gunning to break Nordsjaelland's more than one-year home winning streak.
Kaspar Lorentzen is still absent for the defending champions, along with suspended defender Ivan Runje.
The Wolves are not reporting any absences in their available squad.
Vejle BK Kolding - FC Hjørring
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Hjørring will need to pull off a tough result at the home of promotion hopefuls Vejle on Sunday if they hope to avoid falling into the relegation zone.
Hjørring are currently two points clear of AB Copenhagen and the relegation zone, however the pressure is on as AB are set to be awarded an automatic three points due to their usually scheduled game against recently bankrupt Fyn in this round of games.
Hjørring can also count on an automatic three points further on down the road, however would like to avoid falling into the drop zone in the meantime, and will likely need a victory at second-place Vejle in order to do so.
They did start the spring off with signs of hope, holding top-scoring team Viborg to a scoreless draw last weekend, in a game that immediately showed the positive effect of Ogunbiyi's addition to the back line.
Vejle were even more impressive in their spring curtain raiser on Thursday evening, beating Fredericia by a 2-0 score, and also won by the same scoreline in their first game against Hjørring this season.
Hjørring will be missing injured players Jesper Blicher, Dennis Ramonn and Christoffer Hansen.
For Vejle, defenders Jonatan Neftali and Jens Bertel Askou are both doubtful to play.
Skive IK - FC Fredericia
RJ Allen and Skive will try to bounce back from their Thursday-night loss when they host Fredericia on Monday afternoon.
A late goal by Lyngby was enough to sink Skive in an otherwise strong defensive performance on Thursday. They are still hovering dangerously close to the drop zone, and will hope to continue Fredericia's slow start to the spring.
The visitors lost their spring opener to second-place Vejle by a 2-0 mark on Thursday, and extending their winless run to four games, although with three of those coming prior to the winter break.
Neither team is currently reporting any injuries or suspensions.
Having earning his first start of the season in Thursday's scoreless draw at Odense, Charlie Davies will likely be back on the bench on Sunday when the team visits SønderjyskE.
After losing his starting spot in Brøndby's central defense with the return of Martin Albrechtson from suspension, Clarence Goodson will hope to take part on Monday evening when Brøndby hosts Aarhus.