JOHN KRETLOW - Friday, March 19, 2010
Clint Dempsey will be given a hero's welcome at Craven Cottage while Brad Friedel faces off against Marcus Hahnemann, the two keepers sighting for very different goals.
Fulham - Manchester City
Clint Dempsey will be given a heros welcome regardless if the American starts or not when Manchester City travel to Craven Cottage.
Dempsey was a second half substitute in Thursdays Europa League game, coming on to chip Juventus' goalkeeper Antonio Chimenti in the 82nd minute to win the game. John Pantsil is still an injury doubt after overcoming his PCL tear, but Andy Johnson is out until June with a knee injury.
Manchester City are likely to be without Martin Petrov who has been out with an MCL knee ligament injury. Wayne Bridge has been sidelined with a sports hernia and is out until late April, while Michael Johnson is out until June with a knee injury.
Aston Villa - Wolverhampton
Brad Friedel will face off against Marcus Hahnemann as both of their clubs have very different ambitions in the tail end of the season.
Friedel, backed up by Brad Guzan, will be looking to lead his teammates over the coming hurdles and land in fourth place for European qualification while Wolverhampton are trying to avoid relegation.
Gabriel Agbonlahor has pulled up with a groin injury and is a major doubt for the home clash, while Nigel Reo-Coker remains a long term absentee. David Edwards and Michael Kightly also look to be injury misses for Wolverhampton.
Everton - Bolton
Tim Howard will be fondly greeted by Stuart Holden, even though their two clubs go head to head in Premiership action.
Holden will be on the sidelines watching after breaking his leg during International duty. Gary Cahill and Mark Davies are both injury concerns before the weekend, but Chris Basham is out for another month with a knee injury. Sean Davis, Gavin McCann, Joey O'Brien are all long term injury absentees.
Everton could be without Louis Saha or Phillippe Senderos, though Victor Anichebe could be fit enough for a place on the bench. Leon Osman is on the verge of recovery from a groin strain, while Marouane Fellaini is out long term with an ankle injury.
Portsmouth - Hull
Jozy Altidore will have looked to impressed Iain Dowie as he becomes the new head coach of Hull City, replacing the deposed Phil Brown.
Dowie will automatically have to reshuffle his pack in the relegation six pointer due to George Boateng's red card picked up against Arsenal. Stephen Hunt and Geovanni are both potential impact inclusions, but Anthony Gardner will be forced out with an ankle injury. Ian Ashbee is the only long term injury worry, sidelined until May with a PCL tear.
Portsmouth have numerous injury concerns to compound their already devastated morale. After going into administration, the club was docked nine points, all but sentencing themselves to relegation.
John Utaka and Tal Ben Haim could return for the Fratton Park clash, while Anthony Vanden Borre and Tommy Smith are both in a race against time to prove fit. Hassan Yedba and David James are both injury worries, while Kevin-Prince Boateng is out until the beginning of April with an ankle injury.
Arsenal - West Ham
Jonathan Spector will look to give Arsenal a run for their money as West Ham travel north in the All-London affair.
Cesc Fabregas is on course to return for the Gunners, as is Tomas Rosicky. William Gallas looks to return in early April, while Jibril Djourou and Robin Van Persie eye late April comebacks. Keiron Gibbs and Aaron Ramsey are long term injury absentees.
West Ham could have Guillermo Franco back, while Julian Faubert, Heirita Ilunga, and Mark Noble will race against the clock to be selected. Zavon Hines and Luis Boa Morte are both out until June with knee injuries.
Watford - Cardiff City
Jay Demerit and Watford will look to build upon their midweek win and take on Cardiff City this Sunday in an important game for both teams.
Having embarrassingly lost to lowly Peterborough last weekend, Watford finally ended their four game losing streak against Ipswich town in their midweek game. They now find themselves four points from the relegation zone.
Jay Demerit played the whole 90 minutes and is expected to start and captain Watford once again.
Cardiff City are in the last promotion playoff spot in the Championship, but only hold a three point lead on Sheffield United. A win will help them find some breathing room in the race for promotion. The Bluebirds won their midweek game against Coventry City.
Gabor Gyepes looks to be out for the Bluebirds. Mark Hudson is nursing an ankle injury, and Joe Ledley has a hip injury. Both are not expected to be back in the lineup for Cardiff City until mid-April.
Watford will be without Ferrie Bodde, who has been ruled out for the season.
Sheffield Wednesday - Derby County
Frank Simek will look for playing time as Sheffield Wednesday hosts Preston North End.
Sheffield Wednesday are only one point above the relegation zone and will need a win this weekend. The Owls have posted two ties and a loss in their last 3 games, and look for an important win this Saturday.
Simek did not see playing time in the Owls' midweek game against Preston North End and has not seen the field since their March 6th win against Leicester City.
Derby County are only five points from the relegation zone and a loss could put the Rams in a dangerous situation. They tied their midweek game against Middlesbrough but will look for a win instead on Saturday.
The Rams for the most part are injury free. Stephen Bywater will look to come back after a back problem had forced him out of Derby County's last game.
Sheffield Wednesday's Sean McAllister looks to miss this weekend's game due to a strained stomach muscle and Lewis Buxton is nursing a hamstring injury and should miss as well.
Plymouth - Scunthorpe United
Kenny Cooper and Plymouth Argyle take on Scunthorpe United in a critical relegation battle.
Plymouth won their midweek game against Bristol City but still find themselves deep in the relegation zone. The Pilgrims will hope to add to that win with a victory this Saturday.
Kenny Cooper again did not get playing time for the Pilgrims win against Bristol City and has not played much since arriving at Plymouth.
Scunthorpe United are struggling as well and are also in the relegation zone with 38 points. Last weekend's loss against Newcastle United hurt, but a win versus Plymouth could be enough to get them to safety.
Plymouth will hope to have Craig Noone back after an ankle and shin injury kept him out of the Bristol City game. Full-back Richard Eckersley could miss out with a groin injury while centre-back Kari Arnason could be out with a calf injury.
Scunthorpe striker Gary Hooper missed the midweek game but should be healthy to play this weekend. Captain Cliff Byrne is serving a five-game suspension and will miss as well.
Wycombe Wanderers - Exeter City
Wycombe Wanderers and Jon-Paul Pittman will take on Exeter City in an important relegation battle.
Wycombe has struggled throughout the season and find themselves in the relegation zone. They will have to start maximizing their points in order to stay in League One. The Chairboys tied Oldham Athletic last weekend.
Jon-Paul Pittman made a cameo 90th minute appearance for Wycombe. The American did play 82 minutes against Carlisle United in the Chairboys March 6th game.
Exeter City are three points away from the relegation zone and also need this win. The Grecians beat the Bristol Rovers in the midweek and look to follow up that positive performance with one on Saturday.
The Grecians could be without midfielder Alex Russell who has suffered from a nagging back injury.
Wycombe could be without defender Leon Johnson who is recovering from a hip injury. Lewwis Spence and Ian Westlake are nursing knee injuries. All were out of the lineup for Wycombe's game versus Oldham last weekend.
Northampton Town - Morecambe
Northampton Town and Seb Harris play Morecambe this Saturday with much on the line.
The Cobblers beat Darlington last weekend and currently hold the last promotion playoff spot. They are now on a four game winning streak and hope to keep it going this weekend.
Seb Harris did not make an appearance for the Cobblers last week, but will look to contribute against the Shrimps.
Morecambe are only three points from the playoff spot that Northampton Town hold. A win this Saturday will put the Shrimps level with the Cobblers in the standings. They won their midweek game against Hereford United.
The Shrimps are injury free for this game.
Kevin Thornton, Andy Holt and Chris Dunn should be out with knee injuries for the Cobblers. John Curtis could be out with a calf injury while Steve Guinan is nursing a groin injury.
Devann Yao is not expected to play for Ipswich Town F.C as they take on Barnsley.
Zach Whitebread is out with a calf injury and is not expected to take part in Norwich City's game against Swindon Town.
Mike Grella is nursing a calf injury and will not play for Leeds United against Milwall.
Jemal Johnson is injured and will not play for Stockport against Brentford.