ANDREW VORCE - Friday, March 5, 2010
Jozy Altidore will be trying to score against Tim Howard while Marcus Hahnemann takes on Manchester United at Molineux in a full slate of English action.
Everton - Hull
Tim Howard will look to rebound from letting two in on international duty and Landon Donovan will try to outduel his Red, White & Blue attacking teammate as Jozy Altidore has a point to prove in Hull colors.
Howard was bested from the spot after Jonathan Bornstein brought down Wesley Sneijder, and the American defender deflected a late shot that had Howard beaten after the redirection.
Everton will be without Louis Saha as the Frenchman has pulled up with a hamstring injury, while Phillip Senderos is out with a knee injury. Tim Cahill is nearing a return after a calf muscle strain, but Marouani Fellaini is out until August with an ankle injury.
Hull have some players on the fringe of returns, as Geovanni and Dean Marney look to push for returns in the next week. Anthony Gardner is likely to miss out with an ankle injury, while Ian Ashbee is out until May with a PCL tear.
Wolverhampton - Manchester United
Marcus Hahnemann will regain a starting role as the American returns from international duty with the US squad to take on Manchester United at home.
On the up side, Wolves will have a nearly full roster with Dean Edwards and Michael Kightly set to return from Ankle injuries. Hahnemann and company will have to be at their very best as Wayne Rooney looks to get back to free scoring action for United.
The United back line will be shifted as Rio Ferdinand and Rafael have been ruled out, with the English captain missing through a back injury. Michael Owen is the newest injury, pulling up with a hamstring strain. Ryan Giggs is nearing a return after fracturing his wrist, while Anderson, Owen Hargreaves, and John O'Shea are all long term absentees.
Reading - Aston Villa
Brad Guzan will hope to retain his spot over Brad Friedel as Aston Villa progresses in the FA Cup to take on League Championship club Reading.
Friedel led the squad out in the Carling Cup final as Wayne Rooney came on to score a looping head over the American veteran. Injuries will not play into Martin O'Neal's squad as Nigel Reo-Coker is the only concern. The former captain is out until late April with an ankle injury.
Reading have a handful of injuries, with Gylfl Sigurdsson and Matt Mills being monitored before the weekend. Kalifa Cisse will be returning to full training in the coming weeks, while Chris Armstrong, Noel Hunt, Jem Karacan, Andy Griffin, and Brynjar Gunnarsson are all injury absentees.
West Ham - Bolton
Jonathan Spector will be the only Yank to take the field as Stuart Holden was forced out of Wednesday's midweek friendly for the US Men's National Team against Holland.
Holden lasted just half an hour in a much deserved starting position for the USMNT, being forced out after an ill timed Nigel de Jong tackle broke the midfielder's fibula. He becomes one of seven Wanderers out, with Mark Davies and Joey O'Brien being sidelined as well. Gary Cahill is out until late march, while Chris Basham and Gavin McCann are out until April.
West Ham have two players expected to return later in March, while Craven Davenport has been ruled out with a hip injury. Benni McCarthy is out with a knee injury, while Herita Ilunga will look to be back by the end of the month from a calf injury. Both Luis Boa Morte and Zavon Hines are out for the season with knee injuries.
Derby County - Watford
Jay DeMerit returns from US national team duty to lead Watford into Pride Park Stadium on Saturday to take on Derby County.
DeMerit will start at his customary spot of central defender for the Hornets who are seeking a reversal of fortune. Watford enter the match having not won since February 9th when they downed Bristol City.
A rainout versus Queen's Park Rangers coupled with a draw against Scunthorpe and last weekend's defeat versus Newcastle United have contributed to the drought and has stalled the club's promotion playoff aspirations.
A visit to Benny Feilhaber's old club will be a testy one as the Rams are equal with the Hornets in the Championship standings at 39 points.
Tom Cleverly continues to serve his three match ban and will not be available while winger Will Buckley and his thigh strain will be a gameday decision for Watford head man Malky Mckay.
Derby will not have Kris Commons due to a hamstring tear and Jay McEveley who is suspended.
Plymouth - Preston North End
After not featuring last week, striker Kenny Cooper will hope to see some time off the bench in the second half for Plymouth whose hourglass of Championship survival is quickly running out of sand.
The Pilgrims will welcome Preston North End to Home Park on Saturday and face a Lilywhites offense that has been high-flying as of late.
The visitors have impressively tallied six goals in their last two matches with three versus Derby in an entertaining 5-3 loss and another three as part of a shout-out victory last weekend versus Cardiff.
Cooper will hope to match that offensive output with his first goal in a Plymouth uniform, however that may be more difficult than it seems as Paul Mariner's club have only scored a paltry 32 times on the campaign, even though three of those came last weekend in a heartbreaking 4-3 loss at Sheffield United.
Defender Gary Sawyer will be a gameday decision for Plymouth while Preston North End fans can expect Callum Davidson and Paul Parry to be unavailable due to injuries.
Sheffield Wednesday - Leicester City
After spending the bulk of the week in Holland with the US national team, Frank Simek returns to action on Saturday when Sheffield Wednesday host Leicester City at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.
In a rather surprising move, US head coach Bob Bradley named Simek to his roster of 20 players called for Wednesday's Holland match. It was the first time that the defender had been called to a USMNT camp since 2007.
Simek ultimately did not make the 18 player gameday roster for the match versus the Dutch but should be back in the fold for the Owls' critical match.
Wednesday are sitting in the final relegation spot in the Championship standings and are in the midst of a very poor stretch of play.
Simek and Company have been shutout in their last three matches, including an embarrassing 5-0 shellacking at the hands of Reading last weekend.
A victory on Saturday over the Foxes could lift the Owls back in the safety zone and help steady the ship for Wednesday head coach Alan Irvine.
Jermaine Johnson, Francis Jeffers, Tommy Miller, Darren Purse and Lewis Buxton all appear to be scratches for the hosts due to injury while Leicester City will have a full squad available in hopes of extending their eight match unbeaten streak.
Wycombe Wanderers - Carlisle United
Jon-Paul Pittman looks set to start up front for Wycombe who host Carlisle United in League One action on Saturday at Adams Park.
Pittman was part of last week's wild affair which saw the Wanderers almost make an unbelievable comeback versus Jemal Johnson and Stockport County.
Stockport had raced out to a 4-0 lead only to see the Blues storm back with three late second half goals before the final whistle blew ending Wycombe's gutsy bid at a draw.
Wycombe are now four points from safety but their tendency to give up goals, 61 total on the season, is a reasonable source of concern for head coach Gary Waddock.
Pittman will be looking to add to his goal-scoring total on the season which currently stands at six.
Striker Matt Harrold will likely sit due to injury, this paving the way for another Pittman start, plus midfielder Gareth Ainsworth will be finishing up his three match suspension while Leon Johnson and Ian Westlake are sidelines with injuries.
The visiting Cumbrians are without starting goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley due to a broken hand and long-term injurees David Raven, Gavin Rothery and Andy Cook.
Port Vale - Northampton Town
After scoring his first ever professional goal, Seb Harris will look to make another impact this week for Northampton Town who head to Vale Park in Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday to take on Port Vale.
Harris came on in the 64th minute for Adebayo Akinfenwa last weekend versus Cheltenham Town and scored the game winning goal in the 85th minute.
The Michigan native was mobbed by teammates after the strike which kept the Cobblers in the promotion playoff hunt.
Northampton are five points behind Notts County for the fourth and final berth.
Port Vale have promotion dreams of their own and will be taking aim at Saturday's visitors who sit just two points ahead in the League Two standings.
Northampton will be without Chris Dunn, Steve Guinan and Kevin Thornton while the hosts can expect to be without the services of Dave Howland and Geoff Horsfield.
Clint Dempsey is still out of the Fulham squad as the American recovers from a knee injury, ruling him out of Fulham's FA Cup game at home against Tottenham
Devann Yao will likely take no part on Saturday afternoon when Ipswich head to eighth-place Blackpool.
Zak Whitbread is still nursing a calf strain and is expected to miss Norwich City's affair with Yeovil Town.
Mike Grella will hope to see some second half action for Leeds United who host Brentford on Saturday.
Jemal Johnson is out for several weeks with a hamstring injury and will not be available for Stockport County against Charlton Athletic.