PREVIEW: MIDWEEK ENGLISH ACTION
RECAPS
EXTRA TIME
ANDREW VORCE - Sunday, December 27, 2009
Tim Howard and Brad Friedel look to get back on winning ways as Clint Dempsey makes the short trip to Stamford Bridge when Chelsea host Fulham.

Chelsea - Fulham

Clint Dempsey will be back in action as the west London clubs go head to head at Stamford Bridge.

This will be the last game for Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Jon Obi Mikel ahead of the African Cup of Nations, while Florent Malouda is out with a one-match ban. Nikolas Anelka is out with a muscle strain, while Michael Essien and Jose Bosingwa are out with a hamstring and knee injury, respectively.

John Pantsil is also in his last game before the African tournament, while Andy Johnson may return after a groin injury. Brede Hangeland sustained a knee injury before the Tottenham game, but may be forced out after playing 90 minutes.

Everton - Burnley

Tim Howard will look to provide David Moyes with a much needed win as Burnley come to Goodison Park.

Phil Neville may return to the Everton back line after shrugging off a troublesome knee injury that has kept the 32 year old out since September. Sylvain Distin and Joseph Yobo are injury doubts, while Victor Anichebe, Mikel Arteta, Dan Gosling, and Jack Rodwell remain long term absentees.

Burnley may be hampered by the absence of Steven Caldwell and Clarke Carlisle. Both center backs have been out with groin injuries, and will undergo late fitness tests to make the squad selection.

Wolverhampton - Manchester City

Marcus Hahnemann and company will face their second tough match in the space of three days as Manchester City come to town.

Stephen Ward must be replaced by Mick McCarthy who was sent off for two bookable offenses. David Edwards, Andy Keogh, and Michael Kightly all have ankle injuries, leaving the trio out of action.

Nedum Onuoha and Joleon Lescott are sidelined through injuries, meaning Vincent Kompany and Kolo Toure will partner in defense before they must travel to the African Cup of Nations. Emmanuel Adebayor, Wayne Bridge, and Roque Santa Cruz are all set to stay on the sidelines in Roberto Mancini's second game in charge of the Citizens.

Aston Villa - Liverpool

Brad Friedel has a point to prove against his former club as Aston Villa need three points to bounce back from their loss against Arsenal.

Aston Villa were picked apart by Cesc Fabregas at Emerites Stadium, dampening their "Top Four" credentials. Liverpool are off the back of a 2-0 win over 10-man Wolverhampton.

Javier Mascherano begins a four match suspension, and Liverpool will recommend that he take the opportunity to have surgery performed on a nagging knee injury. Albert Riera is close to recovery following a hamstring problem, as are Nabil El Zhar and Martin Kelly who have both been struggling with ankle problems.

Emile Heskey will not play due to a groin injury, Curtis Davies has a dislocated shoulder and Wilfred Bouma will be unavailable with an ankle injury. Craig Gardner could return following a back injury.

Bolton - Hull

Jozy Altidore and company will look to take the positives out of the Sunday defeat against Manchester United and put all the pressure on Bolton.

The Tigers will again be without Jimmy Bullard and Ian Ashbee who are both struggling with knee injuries. Nicky Barmby came off against Arsenal with a calf-strain, and may not be fit to play.

Fabrice Muamba should slot back in after serving his one match ban after picking up five yellow cards. Gavin McCann and Danny Shittu could feature, but Mustapha Riga and Joey O'Brien are out of action. Sean Davis is out for the season with an ACL knee injury.

Blackpool - Sheffield Wednesday

Frank Simek will look to continue in the Sheffield Wednesday back line as the Owls look for three points at Blackpool.

Luke Varney has been forced out early for the Owls, picking up five bookings in his loan spell from Derby. Leon Clarke is expected to take Varney's place, while Simek and Tom Soares look to replace Lewis Buxton and sean McAlister.

Charlie Adam and Brett Ormerod both shook off an illness, while Ben Burgess shook off a calf strain. David Vaughan will look to slot back into the midfield, while Marcel Seip could shake off a hamstring problem.

Bristol City - Watford

Jay DeMerit will continue in the heart of the Watford defense when the Hornets travel to Bristol City.

Bristol are on the slide having won once in their last nine attempts, and have key absences ahead of the even battle. Evander Sno is in Holland on bereavement, while Gary and Lee Johnson are out with chest infections. Marvin Elliott could challenge for a spot after being named to the bench on the weekend.

Henri Lansbury and Heidar Helguson are set for their last game at Watford before returning their parent clubs Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers, respectively. Manchester United loanee Craig Carthright has returned to Old Trafford to undergo a knee operation, while Ross Jenkins is on the sideline with a back operation

Leyton Orient - Southend United

Ian Joyce will look to continue in goal for Southend United as the American faces Leyton Orient.

Steve Mildenhall was sidelined with a back complaint meaning the young American was given his chance to shine, earning his first start of the season. Scott Malone's loan deal has been extended from Wolves, while Dougie Freedman looks to find his name on the team sheet.

Sean Thornton will be out after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season, while Scott McGleish has been sidelined through a knee injury. Ryan Jarvis missed the last game due to an illness, while Andros Townsend is in his last game before returning to Tottenham.

Wycombe - Brighton

Jon-Paul Pittman will be looking for the start as Wycombe take on Brighton in League One action.

Wycombe were thrashed 4-0 by Yoevil, meaning Gary Waddock is expected to make heavy alterations to his team. Kadeem harris, 16, could make a start against Brighton, while John Akinde is in the middle of a three game ban. Lewis Montrose is out with a knee injury, while Leon Johnson is out with a hip injury.

Andrew Crofts and Liam Dickson are both out due to cards, with Crofts picking up a red card and Dickson picking up his fifth yellow in their last outing. Colin Hawkins is the only injury absentee for Gus Poyet, with an ongoing heel problem.

Notes:

Jonathan Spector will be on the bench as West Ham make the short trip to Tottenham.

Mike Grella will be on the bench for high flying Leeds against Stockport.

Jemal Johnson is out injured for Milton Keynes Dons against Huddersfield.

Zak Whitbread is out injured as Millwall take on Bristol Rovers.

Eric LIchaj is out injured as Lincoln City travel to Darlington.

Seb Harris will be on the bench for Northampton who travel to Barnet.
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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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