KONGSVINGER PROGRESSING DESPITE POOR RESULTS

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Hans-Erik Eriksen has endured a tough start to his tenure as Kongsvinger boss. His side have won just once in pre-season and lost many key players through injury. Despite this, performances are improving and there are definitely reasons for fans to remain optimistic going into the 2017 season.>

(Photo: DigitalSports)

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Having seen Kongsvinger play today against K League Challenge side Seongnam, it is clear that the issues that were evident in the losses to Lillestrom and Stabaek have now been addressed. The side may have lost but their general play was much better than in previous games and Kongsvinger created many more goalscoring chances.>

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Due to how high up the pitch Kongsvinger’s full backs play, there is a need for the defensive midfielder in the side to drop back in and help the two central defenders when necessary. Johan Wennberg had taken on this role in the previous friendlies and seemingly struggled to adapt. Today against Seongnam, however, Adrian Ovlien played the role and slotted in well alongside Kirill Suslov and Markus Skjellum. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>This role in the side is extremely important. Ovlien was often the man to start every Kongsvinger attack, as his passes from deep were distributed out wide to the full backs or centrally to one of Wennberg or Ellingsen. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>The full backs benefited from Ovlien dropping in deep as this then allowed them to focus on building attacks rather than covering defensively. Both Christian Roer and Jorgen Richardsen got in promising forward positions throughout the game. The picture below demonstrates the position in which Ovlien was thriving during the game.>

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Injuries have really impacted Kongsvinger’s pre-season so far. Manager Eriksen has been without key players such as Fredrik Palerud, Harald Holter, Par Ericsson and Orjan Royrane for most of, if not all, of pre-season. Kongsvinger had just 14 players at their disposal today. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>This will mean that many players in the side go into the 2017 season without having had a pre-season to prepare themselves. Any coach will tell you this could be a massive issue come the business end of the season when players’ fitness becomes even more crucial. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Eriksen and Kongsvinger should not be too disappointed though. It is clear for all to see that the new managers’ methods are starting to stick, Kongsvinger always had a squad capable of adapting from former boss Luis Pimenta’s way of playing to Eriksen’s. The side are now building attacks much faster than before and the press is now much more organised.>

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>A few players have stood out during pre-season but one who has really caught my eye is Martin Vinjor. I have long been a fan of the 17 year old having seen him in fleeting performances last season but his appearance in every pre-season game so far suggests the young midfielder will be in and around the first team squad next season. >

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>His low center of gravity means it is tough for opposition players to take the ball from him. Despite still being a very raw talent, the potential is there for all to see. He and Markus Skjellum may well be two young Kongsvinger players to have a breakthrough season in 2017.>

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>Another promising sight for Kongsvinger fans to see was the return of Mats Cato Moldskred. Moldskred sustained a bad injury in September last season and has been out of action since, his return could not have come at a better time for Kongsvinger who are crying out for a player of his ability.>

Mats Cato Moldskred after scoring against Sandefjord last season.

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>There are of course still some negative aspects of Kongsvinger’s pre-season that need addressing. The goalkeeping situation is not ideal, with two relatively inexperienced keepers fighting for the number 1 jersey. Whilst Gorodovoy has not really had a chance to show his potential in pre-season, Simen Lillevik has struggled in the games in which he has played.>

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style=»font-weight: 400;»>It’s not all doom and gloom for Kongsvinger and Hans-Erik Eriksen despite the record of 4 losses in 5 pre-season games. The side are just starting to click into gear and should be a force to be reckoned come the start of the 2017 season.>