PREVIEW: MIDWEEK ENGLISH ACTION
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ANDREW VORCE - Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Brad Friedel will have a stern test when Arsenal come to Villa Park, while Tim Howard and Landon Donovan look to get back on winning ways when Sunderland visit Goodison Park as games are made up all over England.

Aston Villa - Arsenal

Brad Friedel will retake the reigns from Brad Guzan as Aston Villa looks to surge on in the Premier League when a red hot Arsenal comes to Villa Park.

Villa could be boosted by the return of Emile Heskey, with Richard Dunne also on the verge of a recovery from his hamstring injury. Nigel Re-Coker might make a return after an ankle injury, with John Carew and Wilfred bouma both on the cusp of full returns to first team duty. Marlon Harewood and Stephen Warnock are both injury concerns heading into the game, with Harewood breaking a metatarsal in training.

Arsenal could get Bacary Sagna back before the Villa test, a swell as Abou Diaby. Nicklas Bendtner is on the verge of a return, but Jack Wilshere might miss out after picking up a hamstring injury. Fran Merida is out with a hamstring injury, also keeping Samir Nasri on the sidelines. Johan Djourou, Kieran Gibbs, and Robin van Persie are all long term injuries for Arsenal.

Everton - Sunderland

Tim Howard and Landon Donovan will look to have a wholesale better display when the Premier League returns to the forefront, with Sunderland traveling to Goodison Park.

Jack Rodwell and Dan Gosling are both nearing returns after picking up hamstring injuries, with the same injury keeping Joseph Yobo at bay for the next week. Phil Jagielka will return to full training within the month, while Tim Hibbert is out until late February with a groin strain. Victor Anichebe will also be looking to make his return in February after a knee injury.

Lee Cattermole is a doubt for Sunderland after picking up a hamstring injury, with Anton Ferdinand and John Mensah on the verge of returns from their injuries. Nyron Nosworthy has picked up a knee injury, while Craig Gordon is out until mid-March with a broken wrist.

Portsmouth - West Ham

Jonathan Spector will look to suit up in his first game since West Ham's drab 0-0 result at Villa Park on the 17th of January.

West Ham have a list of players out with hamstring injuries, with Daniel Gabbidon, Herita Ilunga, and Scott Parker all in contention, however Guillermo Franco and Keiron Dyer are not so lucky, joining Craig Davenport on the bench. Luis Boa Morte, Carlton Cole, and Zavon Hines are all out with knee injuries.

Papa Bouba Diop will see some time on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring injury, while Michael Brown will be forced out of the clash with a back injury. Portsmouth are dead last in the Premier League and need points and look to improve after their 2-1 victory against Sunderland over the weekend.

Wolverhampton - Liverpool

Marcus Hahnemann will have had plenty of time to prepare for one of the biggest games of the season as Wolves look to pick up points from a leaderless Liverpool.

Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres are both out of Liverpool's line up, with Yossi Benayoun also out until late February with a rib injury. Daniel Agger has a groin injury, while Nabil El Zhar is doubtful with a foot injury. Glen Johnson is out for most of the season after picking up an MCL knee injury.

Michael Kightly is a week out from full recovery after a foot injury, while Stefan Maierhofer and Matt Murray can be expected back in full training by the end of February. David Edwards and Andy Keogh are not as lucky, being sidelined with foot and ankle injuries until March.

Stockport - Brighton

Jemal Johnson will look to get Stockport the points they need to stay alive in League One when Brighton and Hove Albion come to Edgeley Park.

Fellow on-loan Milton Keynes Dons player Jabo Ibehre is suspended after picking up two yellows in Stockports 2-1 win over Carlisle. David Poole is also out of County's line up as the midfielder serves his last of a three match suspension for the Hatters.

Brighton were unlucky not to force a replay in their FA Cup display against Aston Villa, but on-loan Swansea defender Marcos Painter is now ready to play after being ineligible to play in the Cup game. Adam El-Abd is out with a foot injury, while Colin Hawkins will need surgery to correct a heel problem.

Walsall - Norwich

Zak Whitbread looks set to make his first start in a Norwich uniform after Grant Holt was shown a red in their victory over the weekend.

Norwich went top of the league with their 1-0 win over Brentford, and will look to keep it that way when the travel to Banks's Stadium. Defender Russell Martin was forced out with a hip injury on Saturday, while Michael Spillane and Berthel Askou are still out of action.

Walsall captain Mark Hughes missed a majority of last weeks training due to an ankle problem, but should still retain his spot. The team haven't won in their last four outings, with striker Steve Jones struggling with a groin injury. Rhys Weston has recovered from his calf injury and should see minutes at some point.

Notes

Ian Joyce will look to make the bench when Southend travel to Millwall.

Frank Simek look hope to be on the bench when Sheffield Wednesday travel to Scunthorpe.

Mike Grella will be on the bench when Leeds travel to Swindon.

Seb Harris will hope to make the bench when Northampton travels to Darlington.
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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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