PREVIEW: ESBJERG FB - HB KØGE
Brad Rusin will hope to return to the Køge lineup on Wednesday evening when they face off against First Division team Esbjerg fB in the third round of Danish Cup play.
Embroiled in a dismal season which has seen them rooted to the foot of the standings since the first week, Køge showed a rare sign that there might be hope of redemption by maintaining their second shut-out of the season against SønderjyskE in league play over the weekend.
While they too were prevented from finding goal and were by all accounts the lesser of the two teams, the much-improved defensive performance as compared to a plethora of lopsided blowouts earlier in the season will provide some glimmer of hope that they stand a chance to attain some upward mobility in what is always an unpredictable battle in the lower half of the Superliga.
They stand to be tested against an Esbjerg team which, while playing a division below, has stormed to six wins in their first seven games and looks to be a lock for promotion back to the top flight.
These teams last met in Superliga play during the 2009-10 season, with Esbjerg winning on all three occasions, not a rare occurrence considering a dismal record of 22 losses in 33 games by Køge in their previous top flight adventure.
Køge should have a full squad available for the game, while the status of midfielder Søren Rieks and defender Thomas Gaardsøe is questionable for Esbjerg after both missed the weekend's win over Vejle BK Kolding.