Aussies Abroad Preview: Sainsbury set for Kortrijk debut, Rukavytsya prepares for new season in Israel

Trent Sainsbury could make his debut for Belgian side Kortrijk while Nikita Rukavytsya is set to feature for Maccabi Haifa when the Israeli Premier League season starts this weekend.

Rukavytsya will be returning to league action for Maccabi Haifa this weekend when the 2020/21 Israeli Premier League season begins.

The Socceroos striker had an incredible 2019/20 season in front of goal with 23 to his name in all competitions.

His side will be looking to go one further this season and become crowned league champions after successive second placed finishes.

They will start their campaign away to Hapoel Hadera on Monday with kick off scheduled for 3:30am*.

In J League action, Thomas Deng will be back in action on Saturday when his Urawa Red Diamonds entertain Oita Trinita at 8pm.

Deng’s spectacular volley last time out was not enough for his side to secure all three points after they fell to a 2-1 defeat against Vissel Kobe.

Urawa sit in 7th position on the league ladder and will see the upcoming fixture against 14th placed Oita as the perfect opportunity to boost their standing.

Mitch Langerak’s Nagoya Grampus will be looking to make it three wins on the bounce when they travel to Consadole Sapporo at 8pm on Saturday.

Langerak’s side will be riding high on confidence after they dished out the first defeat on league leaders Kawasaki Frontale last time out.

The three points pushed Grampus into third spot on the table as they look to strive towards further closing the eight point gap between themselves and Kawasaki.

Over to the Scottish Premiership where Martin Boyle will be featuring for Hibernian when they welcome Aberdeen to Easter Road at 1:30am on Monday.

Boyle’s Hibernian have enjoyed a record-breaking start to the season and share top spot with Rangers after the first five rounds.

They are only one of three sides who are yet to taste defeat this campaign with a 0-0 draw against Motherwell just under a fortnight ago, the only blemish on their otherwise perfect record.

Danny Vukovic will be in between the sticks for Genk in their Belgian Pro League fixture against Club Brugge at 9:30pm this Sunday.

Vukovic collected his first clean sheet of the season last Sunday in his side’s 0-0 stalemate against Standard Liege.

His side have now recorded back-to-back draws and occupy 6th position ahead of this weekend’s showdown with Brugge who sit in 11th.

Trent Sainsbury will be hoping to make his debut for Kortrijk when they face off against Cercle Brugge at 2:30am on Sunday.

The Socceroos defender watched on from the bench as his side played out a 0-0 stalemate against Eupen last Saturday.

They are situated in 9th position on the league table with a loss, win and draw from their first three matches.

In the Serbian SuperLiga, Milos Degenek’s FK Crvena Zvezda will be coming up against TSC Backa Topola at 5am on Monday.

Degenek’s side have had the perfect start to the league campaign with five straight wins from their first five fixtures.

They appear odds on favourites to make it six consecutive victories this Monday when they host mid-table Topola.

Craig Goodwin’s Al-Wehda have been going from strength to strength in the Saudi Professional League with their latest 2-1 win over Al-Taawoun on Wednesday morning slotting them into the top three.

Goodwin’s hunt for AFC Asian Champions League football next season is well and truly alive with three rounds remaining in the Saudi top flight campaign.

They have a difficult proposition in their next fixture as they go head to head against 5th placed Al-Faisaly at 1:55am on Monday.

Meanwhile, Mitch Duke touched down in Saudi Arabia earlier this week and is set to link up with his new club Al-Taawoun after he completes the mandatory 10 days in hotel quarantine.

Over to Korea where Brandon O’Neill will be featuring for Pohang Steelers when they meet Seongnam FC at the Steelyard at 8pm on Sunday.

Pohang have experienced a dip in form of late with back-to-back defeats against Ulsan Hyundai and Busan I’Park respectively.

Despite the defeats, O’Neill’s side still sit in 5th position with a five point lead over FC Seoul directly below them.

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Sunday’s match against Seongnam could prove to be the perfect tonic for the Steelers with their biggest league win of the season arriving against their upcoming opponents in the reverse fixture back in July.

Adam Taggart and Terry Antonis will be in action on Saturday when their Suwon Bluewings go head to head against Busan at 9pm.

The latest low point in the Bluewings campaign came last round when they suffered a shock defeat against bottom placed Incheon United.

They are in desperate need to register a win this weekend as they look to salvage as many points as they can before the season finishes at the end of September.

Over to England where Harry Souttar came on for the second half for Stoke City in their 5-1 friendly win against Shrewsbury Town on Wednesday morning.

*All times displayed are AEST