DAVID SMITH - Friday, April 5, 2013
Conor O'Brien and Nordsjaelland will hope to increase their hold on second place on their visit to downtrodden AC Horsens while RJ Allen and Skive face a tough trip to promotion hopefuls Vejle.
AC Horsens - FC Nordsjaelland
Holding a four-point lead over Randers in the race for Champions League qualification, Conor O'Brien and Nordsjaelland will travel to AC Horsens, hoping to continue their hosts' tumble down the standings.
The Wild Tigers strengthened their grip on second, benefiting from an early-own goal and putting on a fine defensive display to walk away 1-0 winners on Thursday at Aalborg.
In Horsens, they are facing a team that is locked in a struggle for positive results stretching back to November. Horsens has won only once in the new year, and overall has just one victory and two draws in their last nine league games.
The two teams opened their 2013 schedule against each other in early-March, with Nordsjaelland coming out on top thanks to an eighth-minute goal from youth player Kristian Lindberg in the 1-0 win. Having also won 4-0 in the league's opening weekend in July, the Wild Tigers can complete the sweep with a victory here.
Kaspar Lorentzen is still absent for the defending champions, who are otherwise reporting a full squad.
Horsens are hit with a number of injuries and suspensions. Midfielders Martin Spelmann and Janus Drachmann are both suspended on yellow card accumulation, defender Mads Agesen is likely to miss after picking up a concussion in the team's lat outing, and the midfield duo of Lasse Kryger and Martin Retov are both questionable after coming off injured over the weekend.
Vejle BK Kolding - Skive IK
RJ Allen and Skive will hope to continue their offensive momentum on Sunday when they visit second-place Vejle.
Skive barely came out ahead in Sunday's game, a wild 4-3 win over Fredericia which winter addition Dustin Corea won for the team with an added time goal.
They will have the advantage of extra rest in comparison to their hosts Vejle, as their regularly-schedule home game against Vestsjælland was postponed due to unplayable field conditions.
Vejle made the most of their Thursday-night action, notching a 2-1 road win over Hobro to jump into the division's top spot.
Skive are currently just ahead of the relegation places, and a victory over Vejle could certainly boost their chances of continuing on in the First Division next season.
Vejle will be without the suspended Christian Sivebæk while Skive are not reporting any absences.
FC Hjørring - Hobro IK
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Hjørring will try to find a way to generate some attack to support their increasingly strong defense when they host Hobro on Sunday.
While having problems on the offensive end of the field, Hjørring have looked much improved in the back this season, scoring shut-outs in two of their first three games.
The latest, a 0-0 draw at fourth-place Brønshøj, pulled them just ahead of AB Copenhagen in the battle avoid dropping into the second relegation spot.
They are facing a Hobro team that has cooled off after a nice start to the new year. They scored a narrow win over Køge in their first outing just over one week ago, but have since lost two straight by an identical 2-1 scoreline to promotion contenders Viborg and Vejle.
Hjørring won the first meeting by a 2-0 score back in early-August, and will hope for a repeat to keep them from slipping back into the relegation places.
This will, however, require them to kickstart an otherwise anemic attack that has failed to score through 270 minutes in the new year.
Hjørring are likely still missing winter addition Maxime Annys as the defensive midfielder is regaining full health.
Hobro are not reporting any absences.
After putting in a pair of strong starting performances in Randers' previous two games in place of usual starter Ronnie Schwartz, Charlie Davies will hope to continue to see an increased role on the field even with the return of the team's leading scorer to the fold. Randers will host Brøndby on Sunday who have been without American defender Clarence Goodson for their previous two games due to a slight injury picked up during international duty.