ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — After narrowly escaping Saturday night’s semifinal game against the Jacksonville Sharks, the Albany Empire will need all of the two weeks leading up to the National Arena League championship game on August 13 to prepare for a formidable opponent: the Carolina Cobras.

The Cobras are set to make the trip to MVP Arena on the 13th after knocking off the Columbus Lions Saturday night, 65-51. Albany dropped all three regular-season matchups with the Cobras, most recently losing 59-56 to Carolina at home on June 18. However, the Empire never lost any of the three meetings by more than a touchdown, and the combined point differential totaled just 18 points, in favor of the Cobras.

Carolina will have a couple familiar faces on their sideline next Saturday in former Albany quarterback Tommy Grady, who won the Arena Football League’s most valuable player award in 2018, and wide receiver Malachi Jones, who was the AFL’s offensive player of the year in 2019.

NEWS10 reached out to Carolina head coach Josh Resignalo, who said he expects both Grady and Jones to be on Carolina’s 25-man roster come gameday.