PREVIEW: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
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JOHN KRETLOW - Saturday, December 28, 2013
Jozy Altidore and Sunderland look for a second straight win when they take on Cardiff City, while Geoff Cameron and Stoke City hope to bounce back from a rough outing against Tottenham

Aston Villa - Swansea City

Brad Guzan and Aston Villa look to break their losing streak with a victory on Saturday against Swansea City.

Guzan is the regular starter for Villa and is expected to see the field once again this weekend.

Villa is coming off their 4th straight loss on Thursday when they went down to Crystal Palace at home. In their four game skid, they have mustered just one goal and will need to find offense soon if they want to distance themselves from the drop zone.

The Swans are coming off a loss to Chelsea on the road and have gone five games winless in all competitions. They will miss one of their most influential player's Michu for this weekend's match.

Christian Benteke is sidelined for Villa.

Cardiff City - Sunderland

Jozy Altidore and Sunderland look to climb their way out of the drop zone with a win at Cardiff City.

Altidore came on in the final minutes of Sunderland's big win over Everton on Boxing Day. The American is expected to see the field on Saturday.

The Black Cats are currently at the bottom of the table, however Thursday's victory over the Toffees puts them within striking distance of safety. They are currently just three points from Crystal Palace who are above the relegation zone.

Cardiff are coming off a big loss to Southampton on Thursday and will need to bounce back at home. They are just a point above the drop zone and are in deep need of three points.

Sunderland will miss Wes Brown because of suspension, while Carlos Cuellar and Kieren Westwood are injured and will miss as well. John O'Shea is suffering from a shoulder injury but could still see the field this weekend.

Tottenham - Stoke City

Geoff Cameron and Stoke City head to London to take on Tottenham Hotspur.

Cameron is expected to feature for Stoke, however teammates Maurice Edu and Brek Shea are not likely to see the field.

Brad Friedel will make the game day roster for Spurs but he is unlikely to see the field.

Spurs are coming off a disappointing loss to West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day at home. They are currently in 8th place but are just three points away from a European position.

The Potters are in 10th place and have had a relatively strong run in the last few weeks. However, after having two players sent off on Thursday they were walloped by Newcastle United. They look to bounce back on Sunday.

Stoke's Marc Wilson and Grer Whelan will miss because of suspension.

Leicester City - Bolton Wanderers

Zak Whitbread's Leicester City host Tim Ream and Bolton in Championship action.

Whitbread is not likely to see the field, however Ream is a regular in Bolton's back line and is expected to start. Stuart Holden is out because of a knee injury.

Bolton is coming off a big road win against Barnsley on Boxing Day. They are now 8 points above the drop zone and hope to keep climbing up the table with another win.

Leicester has won two straight games and find themselves at the top of the Championship standings. The beginning of the month saw them start off cold, however the team has found their momentum again and hope to distance themselves from the rest of the promotion hopefuls.

Nottingham Forest - Leeds United

Eric Lichaj and Nottingham Forest host Leeds United at the City Ground.

Lichaj is a regular in Forest's back line and he is likely to see the field this weekend.

Forest is unbeaten in their last five matches and is currently in 5th place in the standings, just ahead of Leeds United.

Both teams are in the playoff positions but are just a few points ahead Ipswich Town and Reading who are lurking just outside of the playoff zone.

Leeds has drawn three out of their last four matches, but a win will give them a much needed boost to keep up with the rest of the teams in the playoff push.

Middlesbrough - Reading

Seb Hines' Middlesbrough take on Danny Williams and Reading.

Hines is not likely to see the field, however Williams is expected to feature for Reading.

Williams and company have lost three out of their last four matches, including their Boxing Day loss to Leicester City. They are still in the playoff hunt, as they trail Leeds United by just a point for the last playoff position.

Boro is currently in 16th place, but they have won their last two games and hope to keep that momentum going. They are 8 points above the relegation zone and could distance themselves quite a bit with a victory this weekend.

Notes

Tim Howard received a red card in Everton's loss to Sunderland and is suspended for the Toffees' match against Southampton.

Oguchi Onyewu is not likely to feature in Queens Park Rangers' match against Watford.

Jonathan Spector and Will Packwood are not likely to play in Birmingham City's match against Blackburn.

Duane Holmes and Huddersfield Town host Yeovil Town.

Jon Paul Pittman and Wycombe take on Fleetwood Townin League Two action on Sunday.
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A big question for U.S. fans heading into the World Cup is surely on Jozy Altidore and just what is plaguing the young striker at Sunderland.
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