PREVIEW: WEEKEND NORWEGIAN ACTION
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Thursday, September 9, 2010
Hunter Freeman and Clay Goodson's Start hope to keep their Europa League aspirations going when they visit Lillestrom while Mikkel Diskerud and Erik Benjaminsen's Stabaek face a very tough Valerenga.

Lillestrom - Start

Start's American defensive duo of Hunter Freeman and Clay Goodson return to the fold this weekend when they visit Åråsen Stadion to take Lillestrom.

Start head coach Knut Torum is all but certain to slot Freeman in at his usual right back spot while Goodson will anchor the center back position.

The Kristiansand club emerged from the international break and transfer window with a couple changes, namely that team captain Geir Ludvig Fevang was sold to Lokeren and Costa Rican attcker Cristian Bolanos is now at FC Copenhagen.

However that should do little to deter Torum from rolling out his customary attacking strategy on offense.

Sunday's visitors are in seventh in the Eliteserien standings with 32 points but are just four points away from the coveted final Europa League spot.

Lillestrom enter the match in 11th place with just 28 points but are far enough above the drop zone to quash any worries of relegation.

Start looks to have a full squad available while the hosts will be missing Marius Johnsen, Jan Stian Ringstad and Khaled Mouelhi due to injury.

Valerenga - Stabaek

An enticing match-up in the Eliteserien is on the docket Sunday afternoon at Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo as Valerenga play host to Stabaek.

In what has become a bit of an Oslo derby, Troy Perkins' old club will welcome in their nearby neighbors from Baerum who are led by American Mikkel Diskerud.

The dual citizen is likely to line up at his right midfielding position and will be out to carry Stabaek to a third straight victory.

Fellow Norwegian-American Erik Benjaminsen will hope to make the gameday roster just weeks after signing his professional contract with the club.

It will be a difficult match-up for the visitors to contain Valerenga who have deployed one of the more attractive styles of play this season in Norway.

Head coach "Mad" Martin Andresen has his team on a high having won three of their last four including a 8-1 walloping of Start.

The match has taken on a special feel in the last year with the dissolution of FC Lyn who served as Valerenga's crosstown rival.

That status of hated rival has been assumed by Diskerud and company and there should be plenty of filled seats when the two squads take the field.

Jon Inge Høiland, Torstein Andersen Aase, Johan Andersson and Tor Marius Gromstad are injured for Stabaek while Valerenga will be missing Birger Madsen, Freddy Dos Santos and Lars Iver Strand.

Honefoss - Haugesund

Kenneth Di Vita Jensen and Honefoss return to action on Sunday when they host fellow newly-promoted club haugesund at AKA Arena in Honefoss.

Di Vita Jensen scored his first goal of the season last time out in a stunning 1-3 win at Aalesund and will hope to repeat that feat against Haugesund.

It is still uncertain if the 20 year old dual citizen will get the starting spot up front however his recent play suggests that he will be in store for some significant minutes.

Compatriot Steve Clark will start this one on the nech as the backup goalkeeper.

Since an horrific start, Honefoss have rebounded nicely and sit three points above the relegation zone.

The club's record at home is respectable and will pose a challenge to the visitors who have impressed as well in their first season back in the Eliteserien.

Haugesund are currently eighth and head coach Jostein Grindhaug stands to take home honors as the coach of the year for the work he has done.

Honefoss may still be without strikers Davy Angan and Lennart Steffansen which would pave the way for a Di Vita Jensen start. Rune Bolseth is also listed as doubtful.

Haugesund are only without Jacob Sorensen.

Sogndal - Mjondalen

Graham Dugoni will hope to make his Norwegian 1. Division debut when Mjondalen travel to Sogndal on Sunday.

Dugoni was signed by the club earlier in the week and will look to shore up the squad's shoddy defense.

On the season, Mjondalen have allowed a league high 39 goals.

American goalkeeper Joseph Bendik will take his usual spot on the Sogndal bench when the match kicks off at Fosshaugane Campus.

It will be a tall task for Dugoni who gets to face the league leaders at their home field in his very first match with the club.

Mjondalen are staring relegation right in the face and will need all three points to try to climb out of 13th place.

Mjondalen will be missing Lars Granaas due to injury while Sogndal have a full squad available.

Notes

Colin Burns will watch from the bench as the backup goalkeeper when 1. Division leading Sarpsborg visit Ranheim.
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