PREVIEW: AALESUNDS FK - STABAEK IF
DAVID SMITH - Thursday, October 27, 2011
Mikkel Diskerud will be in Stabaek's starting lineup as their topsy-turvy 2011 season nears its conclusion with a Thursday-evening visit to tenth-place Aalesunds FK.

With four games left on the schedule, Stabaek can look back on their campaign with the feeling that they could have accomplished far more.

With the league's fourth-worst goals against record working to their detriment, they often struggled to even stay in the upper half of the standings, and enter Thurday's game at ninth place in the 16-team division.

To their credit, the team has tightened their previously porous defensive play in recent weeks, with the weekend's scoreless draw against nearly-crowned champions Molde one of the shining moments of recent memory.

Otherwise, they have allowed just a pair of goals in their last four outings, and could catch a break against Aalesund, who have proven to be responsible for one of the lowest scoring attacks this season.

While little separates Stabaek and Aalesunds in the standings, Diskerud and his compatriots could have a mental advantage as their opponents will surely already be looking forward to next weekend's Norwegian Cup final against Brann - their second trip to the final in three years.

Aalesund did win the only other meeting between the teams back in mid-June in a game which triggered an extended winless streak for Stabaek.

Stabaek enter the game with no injuries or suspension to report, while Alesunds are also relatively healthy, missing only Costa Rican midfielder Michael Barrantes to a minor knee problem.