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RC Strasbourg will hope that their Group E visitors Tromsø IL will come up against the right side of their unpredictable team on Thursday.
Jacky Duguépéroux's side have been stunningly inconsistent all season, securing impressive results in Europe like their 2-0 win at FC Basel 1893 in their opening UEFA Cup group stage, but floundering in France where they are yet to win a Ligue 1 game in 13 attempts.
The weekend brought another defeat, 1-0 at home against AS Saint-Etienne, and furthermore the coach is forced to add two further players to a list of absentees which already includes Sidi Keïta, Alexander Farnerud and Karim Haggui. Pascal Johansen and Arthur Boka - the scorer against Basel - both sit out the game for disciplinary reasons.
Duguépéroux was full of confidence, though, saying: "With another win we're almost sure to be in Europe next year. On paper, it's a mid-table Norwegian side against French strugglers, but if we're as spirited as we were against Basel we can prove we're in a false position in Ligue 1."
Tromsø completed their domestic commitments for the season at the weekend as they held outgoing Norwegian champions Rosenborg BK to a 1-1 draw in Trondheim. Ole Martin Årst will be suspended for the trip to Strasbourg, and striker Runar Normann may join him on the sidelines if he fails to shake off a knee injury.
"We have a confident squad at the moment, coming off a run of six games without defeat in the league," said Tromsø coach Steinar Nilsen, whose side lost 2-1 in their first Group E game at home against AS Roma. "Årst will be missed - he is our top scorer - but I feel we have the strength in depth to cope without him."
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