DAVID SMITH - Thursday, October 4, 2012
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland will be looking to bounce back from their midweek Champions League blow-out, while Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE have a tough date with fourth-place Aarhus.
Odense BK - FC Nordsjaelland
Still feeling the sting of Tuesday night's 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea, Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland can make some peace should they score a convincing win over Odense in Friday-night action.
The Wild Tigers held their own against the European champions for much of the game on Tuesday night, but a late collapse saw them at the wrong end of a 4-0 scoreline.
Despite the lopsided final result, should they play as well as they did for the opening 80 minutes when they face Odense on Friday, they should be able to come away with the three points that could feasibly propel them into second place.
Prior to the Chelsea loss, they did soundly beat last-place Esbjerg one week ago, and will like their chance of doing the same against an Odense team that has not won in the league since mid-August.
The only missing player for either team is little-used Odense midfielder Christian Sørensen, who is still out with injury.
SønderjyskE - AGF Aarhus
Fresh off a convincing Monday-night win over Midtjylland, Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE have their work cut out for them on Saturday when they face red-hot Aarhus.
O'Brien and his teammates finally ended their five-game winless streak in the league in grand fashion on Monday night, cutting up Mitdjylland for a 3-1 victory that gave hope of better things to come for the rest of the fall months.
Their task will be considerably tougher on Saturday, facing off against Aarhus, who have not suffered a loss since mid-August, and are entertaining long-term dreams of grabbing the league's second Champions League spot.
The two teams did face off two weeks ago, with SønderjyskE making a strong second-half come-back to erase a two-goal deficit and grab a point. O'Brien grabbed his third goal of the season to begin the rally.
Aarhus are only missing Anders Kure, who is out with a broken arm. For SønderjyskE, midfielder Henrik Hansen is the only absent player, due to yellow card suspension.
Clarence Goodson is in the second of a two-game suspension for a red card and will be missing from the lineup when Brøndby hosts Aalborg on Sunday.
Charlie Davies will hope to find his way onto the field as a substitute on Sunday afternoon when Randers hosts FC Midtjylland.
Mike Jones is not expected to take the field for Hjørring on Saturday when they pay a visit to Hobro IK.
Brad Rusin is still out for injury and Shawn Nicklaw will likely be a bench option on Sunday when Køge try to notch a third straight win on their trip to struggling neighbors AB Copenhagen.