DAVID SMITH - Friday, September 9, 2011
Josh Gatt and Molde will try to stretch their lead atop the Tippligaen when third-place Brann visit while Mikkel Diskerud and Stabaek will look to do Molde a huge favor when they host second-place Tromsø.
Stabaek IF - Tromsø IL
Mikkel Diskerud and Stabaek could move back into the Europa League qualification places on Friday evening when they welcome second-place Tromsø.
Stabaek suffered a slight downturn heading into the international break, picking up only one point in their previous two games.
With ten games left to play, they are still well within reach of qualifying for Europe next season, as they trail third-place Brann by only two points and hold one game in hand.
They face on of their toughest opponents of the final ten games on Friday when second-place Tromsø come to visit, however will see it as an opportunity to take one of their main European competitors down a notch.
Tromsø have been somewhat less than impressive lately, winning just once in their last four tries, and are particularly vulnerable away from home with no road wins since early-July.
Neither team is expected to be missing any players due to injury, however Tromsø will be without midfielder Kara Mbodj and defender Saliou Ciss due to yellow card suspensions.
Molde FK - Brann Bergen
With an eight-point lead giving them a huge leg-up in the race for the Norwegian league title, Josh Gatt and Molde will look to take out one of their few remaining competitors on Sunday when third-place Brann come for a visit.
Molde are slowly pulling away from the rest of the pack in the race for the Tippeligaen title, now holding an eight-point lead over their next closest competitors with only nine games left on the schedule.
Of the two teams with realistic shots to catch them in the final months, they can effectively put one on the ropes on Sunday as third-place Brann come for a visit, looking to cut into their own nine-point gap below Molde.
Brann have not done themselves any favors as of late, drawing their last three league games to allow Molde to open up their growing lead.
Molde have a virtually injury-free squad with only long-term absence Børre missing from the defensive options.
Brann will be missing central defender Zsolt Korcsmár who is out with a pulled muscle in his hip along with injured defenders Birkir Sævarsson and Christian Kalvenes.
Strømmen IF - Hønefoss BK
Steve Clark and Hønefoss will try to move back into one of the Adeccoligaen's two automatic promotion spots on Sunday when they welcome relegation-strugglers Strømmen IF.
Kenneth Di Vita Jensen has been a forgotten man in the Hønefoss squad and will hope to make the bench on Sunday.
Hønefoss as slowly been creeping back up the Adeccoligaen standings as of late, going undefeated in their last four to challenge for one of the league's two automatic promotion spots.
They were lucky to have a break during the international window as opposed to several other Adeccoligaen teams, and should be fully rested and ready to deal with 12th-place Strømmen, who are mired in a rough fight to avoid slipping into the drop zone.
Neither team is reporting any absences to their squads.
Bryne FK - Mjøndalen IF
Kyle Helton will hope to continue his run of starts in the Mjøndalen midfield on Sunday when the team visits Bryne FK.
Helton has seen an increased role as of late for Mjøndalen, earning starts in each of their lst two games. As the team has won both by shut-out scores, this could bode well for his future place on the team.
The pair of wins has pulled them now seven points clear of relegation worries, and they will face off against tenth-place Bryne on Sunday, who are trailing them by only a single point.
Mjøndalen will be missing Daniel H Reinoso to a knee injury, and American defender Rhett Bernstein to long-term knee ACL recovery.
Bryne are reporting no absences to their squad.
Sandnes Ulf - Ham-Kam
Jonathan Borrajo and Ham-Kam will have a tough time to move back into the the division's promotion playoff spots on Sunday when they hit the road to deal with solid first-place team Sandnes Ulf.
Ham-Kam have managed to put themselves back into the race for the promotion playoff with a pair of wins in their most recent two games, however they will face perhaps their biggest test on Sunday as they must square off against the division leaders.
Ulf put forward a convincing display in their last game before the short break, coming back from a 3-2 halftime deficit at Bryne to come out 5-3 winners, a result which gave them a four-point lead atop the Adeccoligaen with nine games left on the schedule,
Ham-Kam are just two points out of the final playoff spot, although they do hold the significant advantage of two games in hand over the two teams sitting just two points directly above them.
Both teams are reporting full squads available for the game.
Joseph Bendik will be on the Sogndal bench on Sunday as backup keeper when they host struggling Aalesunds FK.
Colin Burns will be the bench keeper for second-place Sandefjord on Sunday for their road game against last-place Randaberg IL.