DAVID SMITH - Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Clarence Goodson will hope his solid substitute appearance over the weekend will keep him in Brøndby's starting lineup while Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg face a crucial relegation six-pointer in Fyn.
Aalborg BK - Randers FC
After watching from the sidelines as an unused substitute in Aalborg's weekend victory, Chris Rolfe will hope to get on the field on Wednesday night when they host struggling Randers.
AaB did themselves a huge favor over the weekend by shocking third-place Brøndby on the road with a pair of early goals on their way to a much-needed victory. While it did still leave them at the foot of the standings, the win at least brought them to within striking distance of safety, as they are now just three points below the surface.
They can look to Wednesday's game against Randers as a potentially defining moment in their race for top-tier survival, as their upcoming opponents are similarly fighting for their lives, and not doing a very good job of it in recent weeks.
While they were able to barely hang on for a draw against Lyngby over the weekend, they have failed to win in their last four, with just a pair of goals to their name during that time.
Aalborg will have several players out; defender Kasper Bøgelund is still not yet ready to take the field, American forward Marcus Tracy is out for the rest of the season while forward Henrik Dalsgaard and defender Jakob Ahlmann need more time before they are ready to go. In addition, midfielder Patrick Kristensen has returned to training but is still absent from the squad, as is the injured defender Marc Pedersen.
Randers are reporting no injuries or suspensions for the game.
Brøndby IF - Esbjerg fB
Clarence Goodson will look to keep his spot in Brøndby's starting eleven on Thursday evening when the team faces off against visiting Esbjerg fB.
The team was rocked hard on Sunday afternoon, giving up a quick pair of goals early in the first half to visiting cellar dwellers Aalborg on the way to their 2-1 loss.
If there was any positive to take from the game, the awful defensive display in the opening minutes forced head coach Henrik Jensen to re-think his lineup, leading to Goodson's insertion into the back line in a move which ultimately calmed the game down and kept Aalborg from doing any further damage.
This should be enough to keep the American on the field for his team on Thursday evening, as they truly need to come away with a victory to keep their chance of competing in next season's Champions League from passing out of sight.
They are currently five points behind in the battle for entry into Europe's top club competition, and with current second-place Odense hosting a struggling Nordsjaelland team earlier in the afternoon, this could grow if they fail to push to victory.
Unfortunately for Goodson and his teammates, Esbjerg will likely be no easy pushovers, with the team having put together a run of four straight without a loss. They are still situated just inside the relegation zone, however will see the game as a perfect opportunity to pop their heads above the surface.
Brøndby will be hit with the loss of starting midfielder Michael Krohn-Dehli as he was suspended by the Danish FA for two games for abusive language towards the referee in their last game.
They also have a number of players out with injury, with forward Ousman Jallow and midfielder Jens Stryger Larsen both suffering from groin problems, forward Martin Bernburg still several weeks away from resuming full training and defender Mikkel Bischoff sidelined.
Esbjerg are only without defender Fredrik Risp, after the Swede missed the weekend's draw against Silkeborg with injury.
FC Fyn - Viborg FF
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg will try to lick their wounds after Sunday's heartbreaking loss to Aarhus, and get back to business when they visit Fyn in a game vital to the survival hope of both teams.
The Greens looked headed for a huge victory on Sunday after Dennis Høegh hit an 88th-minute go-ahead goal, however a remarkable come-back from their visitors in injury time saw Aarhus end up leaving the stadium with the three points in their pockets.
Such a heartbreaking loss can often be a final death blow to a team which is already struggling mightily for their own hides, and the short four-day space of time to regroup will surely test the team's mettle.
They will need to be on their toes against a Fyn team which has surged out of the drop zone in recent weeks. They remarkably pulled back from three goals down to draw 3-3 with Roskilde over the weekend, and are currently on a four-game run without a defeat heading into Thursday's game.
A win by either team will in all likelihood mean they spend the next few days clear of the bottom three, while anything short of three points will assure Viborg stay in the drop zone.
Both teams are reporting full squads free of injury or suspension for the game.
Michael Parkhurst is still out with a leg injury and will miss Nordsjaelland's tough visit west to take on Odense on Thursday.