DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Benny Feilhaber could see his first league action of 2010 after returning from an ankle injury while Jamil Fearrington and Roskilde should finally take the field after a pair of postponements.
Esbjerg fB - AGF Aarhus
Benny Feilhaber's long-awaited return to Aarhus' squad will be a much-needed boost as the team will look to grab its first win of 2010 on their visit to Esbjerg on Wednesday.
A number of injuries has decimated Aarhus for the entire spring, with an abysmal record of one point through five games the evidence of a team in crisis.
Feilhaber has been out for the duration with an ankle injury, but the team confirmed that he will make the trip to Esbjerg, although whether he is fit enough to go from the start is still in question.
Even with Feilhaber's return to health, The Whites' are severely hampered by the absence of two of their most influential stars, as midfielder Jakob Poulsen is not expected back from his ankle injury until April and Peter Graulund is out for the long haul.
Additionally, defenders Kim Madsen and Ulrik Lindkvist continue to be sidelined both with injury.
Esbjerg have slipped in recent weeks with a trio of consecutive losses, but still maintain well within reach of the league's final Europa League spot as they only trail third-place Silkeborg by a single point.
They were humiliated by a resurgent Randers last weekend to the tune of a 4-0 beating, and Aarhus coach Erik Rassmussen will hope that the hosts will still be slightly shellshocked from the loss and prone to another letdown.
Esbjerg are currently reporting no injuries or suspensions.
Viborg FF - FC Fredericia
Babajide Ogunbiyi is expected to start in central defense for Viborg on Thursday as they host second-place Fredericia in a game which could be a huge boost or setback whatever small shot they have at promotion.
The towering Pennsylvanian has injected himself into the heart of Viborg's defense since first joining the team on trial nearly two months ago, and is expected to be a central figure for the foreseeable future.
Viborg currently trail second-place Fredericia by six points with a game in hand, meaning a non-tied end result could swing the pendulum significantly in either team's favor.
They struggled to beat struggling Frem by a single goal in the spring opener just over one week before, and will hope that a cancellation of their game against Lyngby over the weekend will not have impeded shaking off the rust accumulated during the winter.
Fredericia could be vulnerable as they were handily beaten at home by league leaders Horsens by a 4-1 margin last weekend, but still boast the league's best defensive record even with the big loss, having only allowed 13 through their first 17 games.
Viborg will have a fully healthy squad available for the game, however Fredericia will be lacking the suspended Søren Pallesen plus the injured pair of Peter Sørensen and Steen Thychosen.
Vejle BK - Thisted FC
Euan Holden will hope to continue seeing substitute minutes for Vejle as they try to make it two wins in a row when Thisted pay a visit on Thursday.
Vejle recovered from an opening loss to Fredericia with a tight 1-0 win over Naestved last weekend, and will be hopeful of picking up full points for the second weekend in a row against 11th-place Thisted.
Their opponents have yet to play a competitive game in 2010 due to weather-related cancellations, meaning Holden and his teammates will hope to take advantage of whatever creaks remain from the long offseason.
Thisted do come into the game with a full bill of health, however Vejle could continue to be without midfielder Azer Busuladzic, forward Henrik Andersen and midfielder Joseph Akinola Folahan after each missed last week's win due to injury.
Brabrand IF - FC Roskilde
Jamil Fearrington should get the start in defense for Roskilde as their much-delayed spring schedule gets underway with a visit to winless, last-place Brabrand on Thursday.
Roskilde struggled heavily through the first half of the season and currently lie just beneath the relegation line, but could feasibly poke their heads above the surface with any positive result.
Even though they finished off the fall weakly with just one point in their final three games, Roskilde's opponent on Thursday has consistently been the punching bag of the division with no wins and only four points through half of the season.
Their two-week delay to re-start after the winter might have been a godsend to Roskilde, as they were hit with constant injuries during their mid-season training but have seen most of their hobbled squad return to health over the last ten days.
Only midfielder Morten Avnskjold, who suffered catastrophic leg injury during last summer's pre-season preparations and forward Tobias Perch-Nielsen, who recently underwent surgery on his meniscus, are still absent.
Brabrand did strengthen their squad in the offseason with the additions of former Benny Feilhaber teammate Ole Budtz in central defense, left back Marc Maze on loan from Horsens and Mexican forward Hector Quintanar, and will be at full-strength for the game.
Michael Parkhurst will hope to make his spring debut for Nordsjælland on Thursday afternoon when they travel to Midtjylland, the first of three games for the team in an exhausting seven-day period.
Chris Rolfe will hope for substitute minutes on Friday evening when Aalborg host SønderjyskE. Marcus Tracy is expected to sit out the remainder of the spring as he undergoes intensive therapy for a persistent knee problem.