PREVIEW: WEEKEND SWEDISH ACTION
Brian Edwards will look to retain his starting job against Brommapojkarna while Baggio Husidic hopes to work his way back into Hammarby's starting line up.
Ljungskile SK - Umea FC
Patrick Hopkins and his Ljungskile teammates will welcome a determined Umea team to Markbygg Arena on Saturday.
Fifth place Ljungskile have struggled lately, losing three of their last five matches in the league. Though promotion looks to be out of reach for Hopkins and his teammates, they have drawn praise this season for being particularly difficult to defeat. Over a period which stretched five games earlier this season, Hopkins lead a defensive line which didn't allow a goal for 337 consecutive minutes.
Umea, currently in fifteenth place out of the sixteen teams in the Superettan, hope to make a late escape from the relegation zone this season. With the worst goal differential in the league of -17, Umea have their work cut for them in the final seven games as they're seven points shy of Assyriska in 12th place, which would ensure safety if they were to get there.
While Ljungskile are not reporting any injuries or suspensions, Umea will be without English striker Brian Wake due to yellow card accumulation. Additionally captain Erik Lundstrom is out for the rest of the season for Umea, while the availability of midfielder Henrik Sennstrom is doubtful for Saturday's match.
Degerfors IF - IF Brommapojkarna
With seven games remaining, two team's on the completely opposite side's of the spectrum will do battle on Saturday when Brian Edwards and Degerfors play host to Stockholm giants Brommapojkarna.
Degerfors fans are on pins and needles as the legendary underdogs are in serious danger of being relegated to Sweden's third division. Known as overachiever's for decades due to their small size and consistent participation into the later rounds of the Swedish Cup, The Volcano are currently situated in the Superettan's final spot in the relegation playoff's after 23 out of 30 rounds have been played.
Edwards will have to watch his back this week as Degerfors just signed Ghanaian goalkeeper William Amamoo. The 6'5" Accra native has three caps with the Ghanaian national team to his name and is sure to offer Edwards some competition for the starting job.
On the other sideline, BP are in second place, one point above Halmstad. Despite the edge in points, Halmstad's +28 goal differential dwarfs BP's +13. The visitor's from Stockholm would be wise to remember their April 28th showdown against a Degerfors team who had yet to acquire a point in which many thought BP were outplayed by the visitors although they managed to squeak out a 1-0 victory.
Numerous players will be out of action as Tim Bjorkstrom, Nabil Bahoui and leading scorer Pablo Pinones Arce are all out suspended for BP while Niklas Klingberg and Ferhad Ayaz are both injured for Degerfors.
Hammarby IF - IK Brage
Baggio Husidic hopes to see the field when Hammarby takes on Brage Sunday.
Due to the signings of Kennedy Bakircioglu and Nik Ledgerwood, coupled with the return of team captain Andreas Dahl from a long hiatus due to a leg injury, it looks as though the center of the midfield may have become just a little too crowded for Husidic.
Despite one game missed due to injury, Husidic had been in the starting lineup every week for former US national teamer Gregg Berhalter's team. However the Bosnian-American was not even featured on Bajen's bench in last week's loss to Brommapojkarna.
Left back Eric Figueroa will miss the match for Hammarby due to yellow card accumulation and Daniel Theorin is still plagued by a torn pectoral muscle which will keep him out of action indefinitely. Fellow defender Fadi Malke is close to making his way back from offseason knee surgery, but it is not certain he will be allowed to participate in Saturday's contest.
Niklas Sandberg is the only exclusion for Brage, having picked up his third yellow card in last weekend's match against Falkenberg.
Trelleborg FF - Halmstad BK
Ryan Miller and red hot Halmstad are in search of their seventh consecutive victory on Monday when they travel to take on reeling Trelleborg.
HBK took down Trelleborg 3-1 on April 30th, and recent results indicate that they may be primed to do so again. Halmstad haven't lost since July while Trelleborg only have one win since August 1st.
Halmstad currently sit in third place in the Superettan, good enough for a spot in the promotion playoffs. HBK only trail Brommapojkarna by one point for second place however. If Miller and his teammates were able to pass BP in the leagues closing months, they would be granted automatic promotion the the top flight Allsvenskan next season.
Halmstad do not have any injuries or suspensions to worry about for the match, allowing Jens Gustafsson to put his preffered starting 11 onto the field as has been the case almost all season for the fortunate coach. Fredrik Jensen is not expected to make the trip for Trelleborg with a lingering injury while Johan Guiomar and Borges will both miss the match due to yellow card accumulation.
Helsingborg IF - Malmo FF
After serving a yellow card suspension last week, Alejandro Bedoya will be available when Helsingborg host Malmo FF on Monday.
Helsingborg's victory over Sundsvall last weekend was their first since the arrival of Bedoya, as such the New Jersey born winger is still looking to participate in his first win with his new club, having already been on the field for three losses.
Malmo are currently sitting in third place in the Allsvenskan, the last Europa League qualifying spot which the league has to offer. Helsingborg are eight points adrift of their opponents and will surely be keying on getting all three points at home.
Walid Atta, Erik Edman, Emil Krafth and Erlend Hanstveit were all unable for Helsingborg's Europa League match against Levante last week and the club has yet to clarify their availability for the upcoming league match.
Malmo is aiming to recreate their 3-0 victory over Helsingborg on May 10th, and they are in good position to do so with no exclusions facing the squad for the upcoming game.