Pitchside

Swedish second-tier sellout tops Premier League crowds

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A sold-out game in the Swedish capital will be played in front of more spectators than four of Saturday's English Premier League matches - not bad for a second-tier clash.

Sunday's sellout between Stockholm club Hammarby, currently  third in the Superettan league, and leaders Ljungskile will be attended by 31,500 fans at the Tele2 Arena as the home side seek to make it back to the top flight for the first time since 2009.

Of the six games played in England's Premier League on Saturday, only the Everton v Arsenal and Chelsea v Leicester ties were watched by more spectators.

Sunday's crowd dwarfs the top-flight average attendance of 7,181 in 2013, but the expectations of Hammarby fans starved of success since they were relegated will heap pressure on their players in what promised to be a cracking atmosphere.

"We have to be able to blank that out," midfielder Kennedy Bakircioglu told newspaper Sportbladet. "We'll take advantage of the supporters, instead of thinking about the pressure."

With 10 rounds remaining and the top two finishers earning automatic promotion, Hammarby are currently one point behind Ljugnskile, who lead on goal difference from a GIF Sundsvall side due to face Angelholm on Monday.

A win on Sunday would put Hammarby on top of the table for at least 24 hours and again give their long-suffering fans a glimpse of the promised land of top-flight football next season.

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