DAVID SMITH - Friday, March 12, 2010
Michael Parkhurst could meet an old MLS foe on the team's trip to Randers while Chris Rolfe will be itching for his Aalborg debut in Midtjylland's MCH Arena.
Randers FC - FC Nordsjælland
Michael Parkhurst will hope to crack Nordsjælland's back-four to face old MLS adversary Yura Movsisyan for the first meeting between the two since 2008 when the Wild Tigers head to last-place Randers on Sunday.
Despite spending most of the mid-season preparations in his newly-discovered right back position, Parkhurst watched Monday's loss against Aalborg from the bench as an unused substitute.
Should he make his first 2010 appearance in Randers, he will be tasked with containing new Randers forward Yura Movsisyan, against whom he played a number of times during the course of his final three seasons in MLS.
Even with Monday's setback and their ninth-place standing, the Wild Tigers' prospects on life are far rosier than those of their opponents, as Randers sit 13 points from safety and looked headed for sure relegation barring an act of divine intervention.
Randers coach Ove Christensen was dealt a major blow in last weekend's game, losing goalscoring threat Marc Nygaard to a torn gluteus for an estimated six weeks. In addition, defender Issah Ahmed faces several weeks on the sideline after undergoing minor knee surgery, however forward Søren Berg's suspected knee injury turned out less severe than expected, meaning he could take the field on Sunday.
Morten Wieghorst sees no new injuries to his nearly-full squad, and may have the advantage of having midfielder Søren Christensen back in the lineup after he sat out Monday's loss. Midfielder Mads Thomsen and backup keeper David Jensen will still be out of uniform as both are recovering from long-term injuries.
FC Midtjylland - Aalborg BK
Chris Rolfe will be looking to make his Danish debut on Sunday afternoon while Marcus Tracy is still out with injury as Aalborg try to carry on the momentum from their recent win on their trip to Midtjylland on Sunday.
Neither the fit-again Rolfe nor the still-hobbled Tracy took part in Monday's 2-1 win over Nordsjælland, but the former is ready to go should his services be needed by coach Magnus Pehrsson.
Currently in fifth place, AAB still find themselves within reach of a European spot as they are a mere six points out of third with a 14 games remaining. As they also find themselves closely trailed by Brøndby and Aarhus, a positive result at Midtjylland is a must.
The Wolves showed some signs of life in their return from winter hibernation, posting up an impressive 2-2 draw at home against erstwhile leaders Odense to keep hot on the tail of SønderjyskE and Nordsjælland, both of whom they trail in the standings by a point.
They could be without a pair of midfielders for Sunday's game, as Danny Olsen will likely sit out with a persistent foot problem and George Florescu is still recovering from a slight back problem picked up during international duty with Romania.
Pehrsson could still be without backup defender Jakob Ahlmann Nielsen who has missed time recently with injury, as well as American forward Marcus Tracy who continues to struggle with health.
Benny Feilhaber is still several weeks away from a return to the field as he nurses an ankle injury, and will not take part when Aarhus host Silkeborg on Monday evening.