Alan Beck analyses pre-season opponents Valerenga...
Tell me about Valerenga…
The Norwegian game owes them a considerable debt – as long as you're not a Rosenborg fan. When Valerenga won the title in 2005, it broke Rosenborg's 13-year stranglehold on the Norwegian league, since when three other teams – Brann, Stabaek and Ole Solskjaer's Molde - have taken the title in a division of much-improved competitiveness.
How did they do last season?
Not bad. They came seventh, but reached as high as third after a strong run in the latter part of the campaign. They never really threatened Molde, though, who were top for the whole of the second half of the season.
Who’s in the hotseat?
Martin Andresen. A recent Norwegian international in defensive midfield, Andresen signed in 2008 as player/manager. The 35-year-old retired from top level football in 2010. English fans may remember him from short stints at Wimbledon and Blackburn Rovers.
Talk me through the team..
Kristofer Haestad – very briefly seen in Wigan colours in 2007 – bosses the side from central midfield as captain. They've got experience between the sticks in Canadian international stopper (and erstwhile Tottenham squad member) Lars Hirschfeld. Leading the line is the young and vibrant pairing of Håvard Nielsen, aged 18, and Marcus Pedersen, 21.
And the fans?
Valerenga's official supporters club boasts around 10,000 members – the biggest in the country. 'Klanen' ('the Clan') are proud of their singing and claim to be "the best mixed choir in Norway" (it says here).
Any United links?
Ronny Johnsen returned to Norway after leaving United and helped Valerenga to that 2005 league success. We drew 2-2 with them in a pre-season friendly in 1998.