DAVID SMITH - Friday, July 22, 2011
Josh Gatt will hope to make a return to the field for Molde as they try to protect their Tippeligaen win while Jonathan Borrajo and Ham-Kam will try to extend their unbeaten run against visiting Sandefjord.
IK Start - Molde FK
After watching the entirety of last weekend's win from the bench, Josh Gatt will hope to get back on the field for Molde on Friday night when they visit last-place IK Start.
Sean Cunningham was left off the gameday roster last weekend and is not likely to take the field.
Gatt had missed several weeks prior with a slight injury, however a quick recovery allowed him to make a return to Ole Gunnar Solskjær's available squad. While not ultimately selected for play against Haugesund on Sunday, his inclusion on the bench was a good sign that he could be back on the field soon.
Molde have managed to maintain their first-place standing in the Tippeligan, as a run of six wins in seven league matches has given them a three-point edge over second-place Tromsø and six ahead of Strømsgodset IF, although with both chasers holding a game in hand.
Friday's game could be the perfect chance to extend this edge, as they are facing the league's worst in Start, who have failed to win in their last four, and whom they smashed by a 5-1 score earlier in the season.
Molde will be missing central defender Vegard Forren due to yellow card suspension, with Daniel Berg likely to take his place in the lineup.
Start are expected to be without forward Mads Stokkelien, midfielder Olufemi Oladapo and defedner Birger Madsen, all of whom are out injured.
Aalesunds FK - Stabaek IF
Mikkel Diskerud will be in Stabaek's starting lineup on Sunday when they try to keep the ball rolling to a second consecutive win on their trip to Aalesunds FK.
After an awful run during which they only pulled two points from five games, Stabaek finally carved out a win last weekend against Rosenborg, who had been perhaps the hottest team in the division over the last two months.
Whether or not that was a fluke will be tested on Sunday when they go up against a capable Aalesunds team which will be both mentally boosted although physically worn from their midweek Europa League encounter.
Aalesunds needed 120 minutes to finally vanquish Hungarian opponents Ferencvaros Budapest in the second round of qualification on Thursday night, and with only three days of rest ahead of them, could be worse for the wear on Sunday.
Neither team is reporting any injuries or suspensions.
Hønefoss BK - Sandefjord
Steve Clark will be in the nets for Hønefoss on Sunday when they try to move up the Adeccoligaen standings against visiting Sandefjord.
Kenneth Di Vita Jensen will likely see substitute minutes for Hønefoss while Colin Burns will be on the visiting bench as backup keeper.
Even though Hønefoss have been unable to manage any level of consistency in recent weeks in winning just two of five, an equally unimpressive field atop the division has still left them well within reach of promotion.
With half of the season played, they are currently in fifth place on 25 points, however are only five points off of first-place Ranheim and could feasibly move into second with a win over Sandefjord.
Their visitors are also close to the pack of teams smashed together at the top of the standings with 24 points, and have some momentum in their favor with three straight wins coming into the game.
Hønefoss are still likely without midfielder Lennart Steffensen who is not yet ready to return from injury, while Sandefjord have no absences to report.
Ham-Kam - FK Bodø/Glimt
Jonathan Borrajo and Ham-Kam will try to push their unbeaten streak to ten games on Sunday when seventh-place Bodø/Glimt come for a visit.
After running off seven straight victories, Ham-Kam have slowed down somewhat over their last two games, only managing to earn draws against Kongsvinger and Ulf.
This has dropped them four points behind Ranheim in the race for first place, putting the team under pressure to take the win against their visitors on Sunday or risk falling further behind the competition.
Bodø/Glimt could still be without Michael Haukås after the midfielder missed last week's game with injury. Ham-Kam are currently reporting no injuries.
Joseph Bendik will be on Sogndal's bench as backup keeper on Sunday when the team visits FK Haugesund.
Kyle Helton will hope for his first appearance in several weeks when Mjøndalen host IL Hødd on Sunday.