JOHN KRETLOW - Friday, February 4, 2011
Michael Bradley will hope to start with Brad Friedel against Clint Dempsey's Fulham while Stuart Holden and Bolton take on Tottenham in a full weekend of English action.
Aston Villa - Fulham
Michael Bradley will hope to make his debut in Aston Villa's starting lineup alongside Brad Friedel on Saturday when Clint Dempsey and Fulham visit Villa Park.
Villa were beaten 3-1 in midweek action by Manchester United which may give Gerard Houllier enough reason to start the American. Fabian Delph is still recovering from a knee injury while Andreas Weimann is nursing an ankle injury.
Fulham will be looking for more of the same as the team appears to be on the up and up. Eidur Gudjohnsen will try to make a positive start for Fulham who won during the midweek through a lone Damien Duff strike against Newcastle.
Fulham have only lost twice in 2011, once away to Tottenham on New Year's Day and then away to Liverpool at the end of the month. Dickson Etuhu, Bobby Zamora, and Philippe Senderos all have a shot at making the bench for Fulham as Aaron Hughes has been sidelined through a hamstring injury.
Everton - Blackpool
Tim Howard and Everton will look to bounce back after a midweek loss to Arsenal as Blackpool come to town.
Blackpool were able to keep Charlie Adams during the January transfer window but it was only a minor victory in a difficult time at Blackpool. A 3-1 loss at home to West Ham continued Blackpool's slide, and the team has only managed one win in 2011, losing every other game since the turn of the New Year.
Craig Basham and Billy Clarke are out until May while Matthew Gilks should return by the end of the month from a knee injury. Stephen Crainey is the last Blackpool player out after suffering from an ankle injury.
Everton will be eying a victory at home to the struggling Blackpool squad to bounce back from Tuesday's heartbreaking loss at Arsenal. Everton have otherwise remained unbeaten after losing on January 1st, and will look to get back on winning ways at home to Blackpool. Only Tony Hibbert is out, due to a virus.
Tottenham - Bolton
Stuart Holden and Bolton will look for another positive result after winning during the midweek at home to Wolves.
Recently acquired on-loan front man Daniel Sturridge proved to be the difference in the game, popping up with a goal at the death. Chung-yong Lee has returned from the Asian Cup and will be a major boost to Owen Coyle. Jlloyd Samuel is the only playing carrying an injury heading into the weekend.
Tottenham will continue to be without Gareth Bale who is suffering from a back injury while Steven Pienaar is out for the time being with a concussion. Luka Modric has appendicitis while Yanous Kaboul and Tom Huddlestone will return in March. Ledley King continues his stint on the sideline through a groin strain.
Wigan - Blackburn
Jermaine Jones will look for a third consecutive start for Blackburn after only going for 60 minutes during the week.
Blackburn had the chances to put Tottenham to the sword but couldn't finish a single one as the visitors held on to a 1-0 result at DW Stadium. New signings Mauro Formica and Ruben Rochina will be eased into the squad and will likely not feature against Wigan. Roque Santa Cruz is out with a groin strain while Phil Jones is out until May with a knee injury.
Wigan drew 2-2 at West Brom during the week as a late goal allowed the Baggies back into the contest. Charles N'Zogbia's goal tied up the game and will certainly be a mainstay in Roberto Martinez's line up for the remainder of the season. Wigan are only carrying one injury as on-loan Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverly is out with a hamstring injury for another week.
Norwich City – Burnley
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City take on Burnley in Championship action this Saturday. Whitbread did not play in the Canaries' last gasp win over Millwall, but could feature this weekend.
Norwich's impressive victory keeps them in pace for promotion this season. The Canaries' left their midweek game unscathed, but Andrew Surman could miss this weekend's game with an ailing knee.
Burnley sits six points from the last playoff spot and will need a win this weekend to start their run to promotion. They lost their midweek game to Doncaster and hope to reverse their luck against Norwich.
Martin Paterson looks to have suffered a recurrence of a thigh strain that kept him out for months for Burnley, and is likely to miss.
Hull City – Scunthorpe
Brad Guzan and Hull City travel to lowly Scunthorpe in league play this Saturday.
Guzan and the Tigers are coming off a midweek tie against Leeds United. The American goalie started and went the distance for Hull and should again be in the starting line-up this weekend.
Hull are currently in the middle of the standings but would love to make a possible run to the playoffs, and a win this week could be the catalyst.
Liam Rosenior was stretchered off in Hull City's game against Leeds with a neck injury, and although his x-rays came back negative, his status for Saturday's game is questionable. James Harper also could miss with a knee injury suffered this week.
Scunthorpe is next to last in the standings and if they want to have any hope of getting out of the relegation zone, they will need to start winning immediately.
Cliff Byrne looks to miss for Burnley while Joe Murphy also is doubtful with an ankle injury. Rob Jones is questionable as well.
Carlisle United – Walsall
Frank Simek and Carlisle United play last place Walsall in League One action.
Simek started and went the distance in the Cumbrians' loss to Huddersfield in the midweek. The American defender is expected to feature once again this weekend.
Long term injuries for the Cumbrians include Sean McDaid, Tony Kane and Danny Livesey.
Walsall is coming off a tie against Notts County, but only wins from now on will give them any chance of climbing out of the relegation zone.
Matthew Gil was injured in their midweek game and is questionable to feature against the Cumbrians.
Marcus Hahnemann will be on the bench when Wolves take on Manchester United.
Jonathan Spector will hope to play a art in West Ham's home game against Birmingham.
Eddie Johnson will look to make his debut for Preston North End on Saturday as they try to pick up points against visiting Briston City.
Mike Grella hopes to feature in Leeds United's game against Coventry.
Conor Doyle and Derby County take on Portsmouth.