PREVIEW: WEEKEND NORWEGIAN ACTION
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MATHEW WAGNER - Friday, August 31, 2012
Josh Gatt and Molde look to defend their top spot, Steve Clark hopes to backstop Hønefoss back into European contention and Villyan Bijev wants a Start debut in Norway.

Vålerenga Oslo - Sandnes Ulf

Vålerenga looks to find some consistency against Sandnes Ulf Friday.

American forward Chad Barrett should start for Vålerenga, as he has since moving to Norway over three weeks ago.

Vålerenga has only managed to win back-to-back games twice this season. Despite this, the team is in ninth place, three points away from fourth position.

Sandnes comes into the game on a high, having ended a five-game losing streak Sunday against Sogndal. The team sits in 13th place, holding onto the last safety spot by one point.

Vålerenga will be without Kristofer Hæstad and Anders Nordvik because of yellow card accumulation and Fegor Ogude because of a broken leg. Yssouf Kone is doubtful.

Andreas Westlye is doubtful for Sandnes, as he recovers from a groin injury. Anel Raskaj will miss because of an ankle injury.

Aalesunds FK - Hønefoss BK

Riding a three-game winless streak, Hønefoss needs three points if it wants any chance of qualifying for European competition.

American goalkeeper Steve Clark should start in net for Hønefoss as he has all season.

After sitting in fourth place only a few weeks ago, Hønefoss is now in eighth place, eight points behind third place Rosenborg for the last European spot. Late goals have denied Hønefoss points during this winless streak.

Aalesund also dreams of a high finish in the Tippeligaen, sitting only three points back of Hønefoss in 10th place.

Neither team is reporting any injuries at this time.

Brann Bergen - Molde FK

Molde will attempt to defend its top perch in Norway against Brann Bergen Sunday.

American winger Josh Gatt should start once again for Molde.

Last week, the defending Norwegian champions took over first place for the first time in the 2012 season. A three-game winning streak, along with a three-game winless streak for Strømsgodset, saw Molde go to top of the standings.

Brann will not be a pushover, however. The team sits in seventh place and also hopes to finish high in the standings.

Neither team is reporting any injuries at this time.

Mjøndalen IF - Notodden FK

Mjøndalen's march toward promotion continues Sunday against Notodden.

American defender duo Kyle Helton and Rhett Bernstein should get the start in defense for Mjøndalen.

Mjøndalen has used a nine-game unbeaten streak to catapult to fourth place in the Adeccoligaen. The team is only five points behind Sarpsborg 08 for the final automatic promotion spot with 11 games to go.

It should be easy pickings against 14th place Notodden. The team owns the worst goal differential in the league (-20) and has allowed the second-most goals in the Norwegian second division (42).

Mjøndalen will be without Marius Boldt and Martin Strange.

Tarjei Dale will miss for Notodden.

Start Kristiansand - Bærum SK

Villyan Bijev might make his Norwegian debut Sunday against Sebastian Troupe and Bærum.

Bijev secured a loan to the Adeccoligaen leaders earlier this week for the rest of the Norwegian season, hoping to get some playing time. If the forward does get some playing time, we should expect some good service, as Start leads the Norwegian second division in goals scored (47).

Troupe and Bærum need the points if they want any chance of staying up. Bærum has recorded only nine points so far and is currently riding a six-game winless streak.

Bærum will be without Terje Sanne, Thomas Finstad and Marius Lundemo because of long-term injuries.

Birger Madsen and Christian Tveit will miss for Start.
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