DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Michael Parkhurst will hope to see the field when Nordsjælland visit Silkeborg while Euan Holden is out injured for Vejle as the last eight teams in the Danish Cup will be whittled to a lucky quartet on Thursday.
Silkeborg IF - FC Nordsjælland
Michael Parkhurst has been included in Nordsjælland's traveling squad for the team's quarterfinal against Silkeborg, and could feature in defense as coach Morten Wieghorst looks to possibly rotate fresh legs in the midst of a busy spring schedule.
The American defender's time on the field in 2010 has been limited to a single appearance in place of the suspended Benjamin Kibebe in last week's midweek game.
While Parkhurst featured heavily in the early rounds of the Cup in the fall alongside a number of other less-used players, Thursday's game takes on a greater importance for the team as it offers an enticing route to the Europa League which their inconsistent campaign has failed to provide.
Only two of the league's top four teams remain in the competition - including Thursday's opponent Silkeborg - meaning that the road to mid-May's final could be a less treacherous one than usual.
The game is sandwiched amongst a busy spring schedule for Danish teams which is including both weekend and midweek league action, which could prompt Wieghorst to insert some fresh, yet experienced legs such as Parkhurst into the mix from the start.
The Wild Tigers have had a mixed bag of results in recent weeks, most notably the team's pair of encounters with league leaders Copenhagen, which were split between a 2-0 road win and 3-0 home blowout more recently.
Silkeborg are in the midst of a relatively cold spell, with one win sandwiched between a pair of losses and most recently two straight draws, placing the current third-placed team in the midst of a dogfight for the final automatic Europa League qualification spot.
Nordsjælland have the advantage of a healthy squad, with only reserve keeper Nenad Novakovic out with a shoulder injury.
Silkeborg continue to see Simon Azoulay Pedersen and Christian Thyboe-Thomsen continue to be sidelined with injury.
Euan Holden is out for several games with a slight injury and will watch from the stands as Vejle try to advance to the semifinals on Thursday when hosting Superligaen strugglers SønderjyskE.