PREVIEW: THURSDAY DANISH ACTION
Michael Parkhurst will return to Nordsjaelland's lineup as they try to take down Conor O'Brien and red-hot SønderjyskE while Clarence Goodson and Brøndby have a short trip to FC Copenhagen.
SønderjyskE - FC Nordsjaelland
After sitting out last weekend's win at Køge on suspension, Michael Parkhurst should return to the Wild Tigers' starting lineup on Thursday when they pay a visit to Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE.
Both teams come into the game on the strength of a pair of straight wins, with Nordsjaelland getting the job done in a 2-0 win over last-place Køge last weekend, and SønderjyskE scoring an impressive 3-1 road win over Aarhus that likely pulled them clear of any last remaining relegation threat.
O'Brien has found his way into SønderjyskE's starting lineup for the team's last two games, putting in impressive performances as a holding midfielder, and will likely do the same in Thursday's game.
For the first time in their history, Nordsjaelland realistically have their eyes on the Superliga's top prize, with a small three-point gap separating them from top team Copenhagen.
SønderjyskE coach Lars Søndergaard is without defender Thomas Hansen and midfielder Jacob Tjørnelund both due to injury, while the Wild Tigers are missing midfielder Mikkel Beckmann, forward Joe Sise and backup keeper David Jensen who are not yet ready to return from their knocks.
HB Køge - Lyngby BK
While relegation is a near certainty, Brad Rusin and Køge can take a huge step towards avoiding the ignominious honor of a last-place finish when they face off against second-bottom team Lyngby.
An upturn for Køge since the turn of the new year has pulled them to within four points of 11th-place team Lyngby. While a 12-point gap to safety with just ten games left on the schedule will likely be far too much to overcome, they still have a good chance of overtaking Lyngby, who are just four points ahead.
Aside from last week's 2-0 loss at the league's second-place team Nordsjaelland, Køge have done relatively well in the last month, winning two of their last three and picking up seven points - half of their season's total - in the three games prior to the loss.
Lyngby are on a two-game losing streak, although a 3-1 loss to leaders Copenhagen is hardly a surprise, and a failure to win on Thursday would likely remove any remaining doubt that they can turn around an eight-point gap to safety.
The only absence for Køge is suspended midfielder Lasse Kronborg, while Lyngby are without defender Frederik Krabbe, also due to yellow card accumulation.
FC Copenhagen - Brøndby IF
Clarence Goodson and Brøndby will try to extend their undefeated streak when they make the short trip to take on fellow city rivals FC Copenhagen on Thursday evening.
A tight 1-0 win over Odense last weekend ran Brøndby's undefeated streak to six games, and brought the team within a reasonable shout of European qualification.
Thursday's game against the league leaders will not only be the best test of Brøndby's newfound momentum, but could also serve as a huge favor for FC Nordsjaelland fellow American Michael Parkhurst, who are lurking just three points behind the three-times champions and waiting for the team to slip up.
Copenhagen have also not lost since the turn of the year, although with a pair of scoreless draw in their last three, are far from the offensive juggernaut of previous seasons.
Copenhagen are not reporting any absences to their available squad while Brøndby are only without suspended defender Daniel Norouzi.
Babajide Ogunbiyi has settled his contractual differences with Viborg FF and will be in their gameday squad on Thursday when they begin their spring schedule wit a visit from AB Copenhagen.
Chris Rolfe is serving the first of a two-game suspension for last weekend's red card, and was not in uniform on Wednesday evening for Aalborg's 2-1 home loss to FC Midtjylland.