MATHEW WAGNER - Friday, April 11, 2014
Tim Howard and Everton have a chance to take over fourth place in the Premier League, while Geoff Cameron and Stoke will continue to look for their highest Premier League finish ever.
Crystal Palace - Aston Villa
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa will look to end a three-match losing streak on Saturday when they head to Crystal Palace.
Barring a late injury, Guzan will start in net once again for the Villans.
Sitting in the middle of the Premier League standings just a few weeks ago, Aston Villa seemed to be safe, but following the losing streak, Villa dropped into 13th place and just seven points above the relegation zone.
Despite having a match in hand, the Villans will probably like a win to increase that cushion with five more matches to go.
Crystal Palace, meanwhile, has been on the rise after spending a long time in the relegation zone.
The Eagles have won their last two matches and are now tied with Aston Villa on points, but Palace coach Tony Pulis has warned the team against complacency, meaning the Eagles will come to play.
Aston Villa will be without Gary Gardner, Christian Benteke and Charles N'Zogbia because of an ankle injury and calf injuries. Crystal Palace is not reporting any significant injuries.
Stoke City - Newcastle United
Geoff Cameron and Stoke City will look to bounce back after last week's loss when they host Newcastle.
Having come off at halftime during Stoke's 3-0 loss to Chelsea last weekend, Cameron will hope to keep his starting spot at right back against Newcastle. Fellow American Brek Shea probably won't dress for Stoke.
Stoke was on fire before the Chelsea loss, winning three consecutive matches and going on a four-match unbeaten streak that catapulted the Potters to 10th place. Considering the Potters hold a 13-point cushion over the relegation zone and are 17 points out of a European spot, it seems they don't have much for which to play.
Except for the fact that Newcastle sits six points above Stoke in the standings and Stoke is looking for its highest-ever Premier League finish, that is. Newcastle is ripe for the taking, as the Geordies have lost their last three matches by a combined 11-0 scoreline.
Stephen Ireland is questionable for the Potter with an illness, while Charlie Adam is out with a facial injury.
Newcastle, meanwhile, will not have first-choice goalkeeper Tim Krul, Moussa Sissoko, Mathieu Debuchy and Loic Remy available with a knee injury, a hamstring injury, a groin strain and a calf injury.
AFC Sunderland - FC Everton
Tim Howard and Everton could move into fourth place in the Premier League when the Toffees square off with relegation-threatened Sunderland at Saturday.
Howard should start in his usual spot between the sticks, while American forward Jozy Altidore can only hope to even dress for Sunderland.
Everton looked like it was in a fight for fifth place just one month ago, but thanks to Arsenal struggling and Everton going on a six-match winning streak, the Toffees are just one point behind Arsenal with a match in hand.
A win and Everton will be in the coveted Champions League spot.
Sunderland is on the other end of the Premier League standings, and things aren't looking too hot for the Black Cats' chances of survival.
Although Sunderland has two matches in hand, the team is in last place and lies seven points out of safety. Losing six of their seven matches doesn't bode well for the Black Cats, either.
For Everton, Lee Osman is questionable with an eye laceration, while Steven Pienaar, Bryan Oviedo, Phil Jagielka and Lacina Traore are out with a knee injury, a broken leg and hamstringer injuries.
As for Sunderland, the Black Cats will miss Steven Fletcher and Keiren Westwood an ankle injury and shoulder injuries.
Bolton Wanderers - FC Barnsley
Tim Ream and Bolton will hope to continue their nice run of results when they host Barnsley on Saturday.
Ream should feature for the Trotters, who have lost just once in 11 Championship matches.
Bolton struggled early in the season, going winless in its first 10 matches to open the season, but they have since recovered and now sit 12 points above the drop zone with five matches remaining in the season.
Barnsley, meanwhile, hasn't been so fortunate, as the Tykes are five points away from safety. Barnsley had the worst away record in the league, but the Tykes have won their last two matches at Reading and Yeovil Town, meaning this one won't be easy for Wanderers.
Marc Tierney and American Stuart Holden will miss the match for Bolton with long-term injuries, while Barnsley will not have Jim O'Brien, Marcus Pedersen and David Fox available. Barnsley's Martin Cranie is questionable with a hamstring strain.
Eric Lichaj should miss another match because of a groin injury when Nottingham Forrest travels to London to play Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.
Duane Holmes should make the 18 for Huddersfield Town's match at Zak Whitbread and Derby County on Saturday.
Oguchi Onyewu is doubtful for Sheffield Wednesday's match against Blackburn on Saturday with a back injury.
Danny Williams is questionable for Reading on Monday night when the Royals host Leicester City.