RJ DEMELLO - Friday, September 12, 2014
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa look to go to the top of the table, while Brek Shea has found a new temporary home in the championship at Birmingham City.
Nottingham Forest - Derby County
Eric Lichaj and Nottingham return from the international break to host neighbors and rivals Derby County at the City Ground.
Lichaj has seen a lot of minutes so far this year for Forest and will likely see the field against Sunday.
In the team's last match before the break, Nottingham snuck out of Hillsborough with a 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday. The win brings Forest up to 13 out of 15 possible points so far in the young Championship season.
Last time out Derby could only take a point from Ipswich with the game ending as a 1-1 draw. The club currently sits in seventh place with eight points to show from the first five games.
Jeff Hendrick will miss the match for Derby, while teammate Jamie Ward is questionable with an injury picked up on international duty.
Aston Villa - Liverpool
Brad Guzan and Villa can prove they are the real deal on Saturday, as the club heads to Anfield to take on Liverpool.
Guzan, fresh off 45 minutes for the USA during the international break, will start in goal for the Villans.
Liverpool comes into Saturday off of a 3-0 dismantling of Tottenham at White Hart Lane. The team sits in fifth place with six points from three matches.
Aston Villa also comes into the game on the heels of a strong result, a 2-1 away win against Hull City. With the win, Villa is in third place and undefeated with seven points from three games.
Daniel Sturridge, Martin Skrtel, and Glen Johnson look set to miss out on the match for Liverpool through injury.
Aston Villa will continue to be without star striker Christian Benteke as the Belgian is still recovering from a knee injury.
Birmingham City - Leeds United
The American contingent at Birmingham is at three now with Jonathan Spector, Will Packwood, and now Brek Shea all at the club.
Spector is a key member of the squad and will likely start the match. Packwood has found and likely will continue to find playing time hard to come by. Shea is likely to play some role in the game but just exactly what is still up in the air.
Birmingham lost 4-0 against Wigan in the team's last game in the league. After five matches the club sits in 20th place out of 24 teams with five points.
Leeds has already sacked its manager this season and resides in 18th place in the league with six points so far this year. The Whites did manage a 1-0 win last time out over Bolton Wanderers.
Leeds will be without Sam Byram through suspension, while Dario Del Fabro and Brian Montenegro likely won't be cleared to play in time for the game.
Birmingham must wait and see if David Edgar is fit after a long time away on international duty with Canada. Gavin Gunning will certainly miss the match through injury.
Tim Howard should slot into his normal starting spot for Everton as the team travels to West Brom. So far through three games the Toffees have the honor of being the worst defense in the league.
Jozy Altidore hasn't started yet this season, and that looks unlikely to change when Sunderland host Tottenham at the weekend.
Geoff Cameron just recently underwent hernia surgery and thus will miss Stoke City's game against Leicester City on Saturday.
Tim Ream will most likely start in defense once again for a struggling Bolton side as the club hosts Sheffield Wednesday.
Emerson Hyndman has been in and out of Felix Magath's starting 11 throughout the early part of the 2014-15 season. The newly capped American international has a good chance of seeing the field this weekend as Fulham travels to face Reading.
Duane Holmes will hope to make the 18 at the weekend while on loan with Bury.
Brad Friedel will take up his normal spot on the Tottenham bench for the team's trip to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland.
Danny Williams remains on the sidelines as a result of a knee injury and will not feature for Reading at home against strugglers Fulham.