DAVID SMITH - Saturday, October 22, 2011
Kyle Helton and Mjøndalen hope to play spoiler to Hønefoss in their push to promotion while Jonathan Borrajo could return from injury to give Ham-Kam a push in their own quest to reach the Tippeligaen.
Hønefoss BK - Mjøndalen IF
With the team in control of their own destiny with two games remaining on the schedule, Steve Clark and Hønefoss will head into Sunday's home game against Mjøndalen knowing their place in the Tippeligaen could potentially be confirmed by the closing whistle.
Kyle Helton's recent strong run of play for Mjøndalen will all but assure him a place in their staring lineup, while Hønefoss forward Kenneth Di Vita Jensen did not suit up for his team in their midweek game, but will be an available option off the bench.
A midweek 2-1 road win at Asker by Hønefoss put the team in second place and more importantly in control of the Adeccoligaen's second promotion spot.
While they are tied with Ham-Kam on points, a significantly better goal differential will certainly give them an added advantage should the two teams end the season even on points.
A stifling league's-best defense has put them in their current strong position, and the team took an important step to secure one of the most important pieces for the long-haul in signing Clark to a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the club through the end of the 2013 season.
Their opponents Mjøndalen could be in for a rough ride during the weekend, as their streaky play on both sides of the ball in recent weeks could leave them vulnerable to a team such has Hønefoss with both the tools and onus to assert their dominance from whistle to whistle.
Helton netted his first goal for Mjøndalen in their wild 4-3 win over Asker last weekend, which saw both the best and worst of the team over the course of 90 minutes.
Hønefoss are reporting no absences. Mjøndalen are without defender Marcus Boldt to a pulled muscle and long-term injury Rhett Bernstein who is recovering from ACL surgery.
Ham-Kam - Sandefjord
Having missed Ham-Kam's last two games while recovering from an ankle injury, Jonathan Borrajo will hope to be back in action on Sunday when they take on Sandefjord in a must-win game which could ultimately prolong or put an end to their promotion hopes.
Barring an unexpected injury or sending off of starting keeper Iven Austbø, Colin Burns will man the bench as backup keeper for Sandefjord.
After Hønefoss won their make-up game in midweek to reach second place, Ham-Kam find themselves on the outside looking in, now trailing the Oslo-area team by a significantly worse goal differential with just two games left.
While both teams are just two points behind division leaders Sandnes Ulf, Ham-Kam enters the final two games of the season knowing that practically speaking their only route to the top flight will be through winning each of their last two games, although with the bitter suspicion that this might not even be enough should either of the teams above them fail to slip up themselves.
They are hosting a Sandefjord team which is still mathematically able to also reach the top two, although in a significantly worse predicament. They are four points off the second promotion spot, and essentially need all results involving the teams above them to go in their favor.
Ham-Kam are reporting no absences to their squad while Sandefjord will be without injured defender Victor Demba Bindia and midfielder Kenneth Dokken, who suffered a severe concussion two weeks before.
Josh Gatt is out for the remainder of Molde's season with a hamstring injury and did not suit up for their 1-1 (?) draw at Stabaek on Friday which brought them to the brink of their first-ever Norwegian title. Mikkel Diskerud played the full game for Stabaek in the midfield.
Joseph Bendik will watch from Sogdnal's bench on Sunday when they pay a visit to Tromsø IL.