DAVID SMITH - Friday, May 6, 2011
Mikkel Diskerud and Stabaek will look to climb to the upper reaches of the Tippeligaen on their visit to struggling Haugesund, while Jonathan Borrajo and Ham-Kam face a tough trip to Adeccoligaen leaders Bryne.
FK Haugesund - Stabaek IF
After barely scraping through last weekend's tough Norwegian Cup matchup, Mikkel Diskerud and Stabaek will hope to have an easier time when they visit 14th-place Haugesund on Sunday.
Sunday's 1-0 win over lower-division Holmlia SK raised some eyebrows amongst the Blues' faithful, and Sunday's game will provide the opportunity to prove that it was merely a one-time anomaly.
Stabaek's league campaign has been mixed after five games, with three wins and two draws putting them at sixth, although a tight top of the standings could have them jumping into the top three should the pull out a win.
Aside from their week 2 win over Sarpsborg, Haugesund have had a fairly miserable campaign. The losses are racking up and a total of four points through five games has them sitting in the relegation zone, albeit by way of goal differential.
Stabaek could be without Swedish midfield Johan Anderson after he missed their last league contest with a thigh problem, while Haugesund will be without a number of players.
Defender Are Tronseth is out injured while backline mate Joakim Våge Nilsen is questionable. Additionally, midfielders Juska Savolainen and Jarle Steinsland are out for the long term.
Molde FK - Rosenborg BK
Josh Gatt will expect to see substitute minutes while Sean Cunningham will likely be on Molde's bench on Sunday when they visit struggling heavyweights Rosenborg.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the young Tippeligaen season has been the relatively futility of last season's undefeated champs Rosenborg. Usually the powerhouse of Norway, the Trondheim-based club has been surprisingly poor, with their single win and four points after five games having them out of the relegation zone only by goal differential.
While few expect this trend to keep up much longer, Molde are hoping that this sleeping giant will take at least one more week to awaken, giving them a chance to take three points against a team who they have not beaten since 2006.
For their part, Molde have had a respectable start, with a pair each of wins and draws up against a single loss having them at the center of the standings.
Molde could be without defenders Kristoffer Paulsen Vatshaug and Vegard Forren after both were forced out of last weekend's cup game with injuries.
Rosenborg could have a full squad as Ivorian forward Boti Goa could be back in the squad after missing time with injury.
Ham-Kam - Bryne FK
Jonathan Borrajo will likely be back in Ham-Kam's starting lineup on Sunday when they face their toughest test of the young season, a visit from Adeccoligaen leaders Bryne.
Borrajo was given a rest from his usual starting duties in last weekend's Norwegian Cup win over Moelven, but head coach Vegard Skogheim will likely call upon the American to attempt to hold off the top scoring team in the Norwegian second tier.
After attaining promotion back to the division last season, HamKam are struggling so far through four games, still looking for their first win.
They have been tough to beat with their lone loss being by a 1-0 decision to Ranheim in the second week, but they will need to do much more should they hope to avoid a season-long battle against a return to the Second Division.
Neither team is reporting any injuries for the game.
Ranheim IL - Hønefoss BK
Steve Clark should be back manning Hønefoss's goal on Sunday when they face a top of the standings battle against Ranheim IL.
Even no single team has particularly stood out in the early stages of the Adeccoligaen season, Hønefoss has been as good as dominant as any, with their eight points through four games having them in the midst of a four-way tie for first.
The team has shut down opponents by playing a stifling defense, with Clark only having to pick the ball out of his own net once over the course of 360 minutes of play.
They could certainly use another strong performance in the back when they face off against their hosts Ranheim, who are also involved in the four-way tie on eight points. The team has done a good enough job on the attack with two goals in each of their previous two games, but have also conceded a pair in each to come away with draws.
Neither team is listing any injuries for the matchup.
Sogndal backup keeper Joseph Bendik will likely be on the bench on Monday evening when the team hosts Viking Stavanger in a game between the Tippeligaen's two worst teams.
Colin Burns will almost certainly be on the bench for Sandefjord on Sunday when the team hosts Kongsvinger IL.
Neither defender Rhett Bernstein nor forward Kyle Helton is likely to see any action for Mjøndalen IF on Sunday when they visit last-place Randaberg IL as both are out with injuries.