ANDREW VORCE - Friday, February 25, 2011
Brad Friedel and Michael Bradley face off against Jermaine Jones in an all Yank affair while Clint Dempsey and Fulham take on Manchester City away from home in a full weekend of English action.
Aston Villa - Blackburn
Michael Bradley will hope to start for Aston Villa who welcome in Jermaine Jones' Blackburn Rovers to Villa Park.
Brad Friedel will be charged with keeping the Rovers at bay but defender Luke Young will still likely remain out after recovering from his knee injury. Fabian Delph is sidelined through a similar injury while Andreas Weimann is on the verge of a return from his ankle injury. Carlos Cuellar remains on the sidelines through a hamstring injury.
Jones will be looking for another solid performance as Blackburn have a nearly full line up. Defender Gael Givet is struggling with a groin strain and could see his name on the dress list this weekend. Phil Jones pledged his future to Rovers by signing a new contract while he is recovering from his MCL knee injury.
Everton - Sunderland
Tim Howard will need to be on point when Sunderland come to Goodison Park to face Everton.
Louis Saha will be sidelined for another week with a hamstring injury so David Moyes' other strikers will definitely need to pick up the slack but Jack Rodwell also remains sidelined with a groin injury.
Everton sit in 14th but will be boosted by their win over Chelsea last weekend in the FA Cup.
Sunderland are looking to break a three game losing streak, having only won once in their last six games. The Black Cats have been in a striker crisis with three recognized frontmen being sidelined through injury.
Frazier Campbell, Lee Cattermole, and Danny Welbeck are all out, while David Meyler is out until March with a knee injury. Michael Turner will be short of game fitness after recovering from his knee injury.
Newcastle - Bolton
Stuart Holden and Bolton make the trip to Newcastle as they look to continue their three game winning streak.
Bolton sit a place above Newcastle having secured one more point, sitting on 36 points. Bolton will continue to be without Zat Knight after sustaining a knee injury while Jlloyd Samuel will be battling for game time after recovering from a calf muscle strain.
Newcastle will continue be without Shola Ameobi after the striker fractured his cheekbone. Alan Smith is out until August with an ankle injury. Stephen Ireland will be looking to secure a place in the squad after recovering from a knee injury while Hatem Ben Arfa will slowly edge back into first team affairs after sustaining a broken leg.
Manchester City - Fulham
Clint Dempsey and Fulham will need to be wary about their away trip to Manchester City.
Manchester City have scored eight goals in their last two games including a 3-0 home win over Aris Salonika in the Europa League on Thursday.
Shay Given will be sidelined for three months with a shoulder injury while Adam Johnson is out with an ankle injury. Nigel De Jong and Micah Richards are also sidelined through injury.
Fulham will be looking to get back winning ways after narrowly falling to Bolton in the FA Cup. Fulham have gotten positive results against Aston Villa, Chelsea, Newcastle, and Tottenham recently.
The Cottagers have nearly a full squad with both of their injured players looking to be shuffled into the squad in the coming weeks. Dickson Etuhu has recovered from his hamstring injury while Phillippe Senderos returns from his calf injury.
Norwich City – Barnsley
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City take on Barnsley in Championship action.
The American center defender started and went the distance for the Canaries in their last encounter and he should again get the start this weekend.
An Adam Drury own goal cost Norwich City the win against Doncaster and now they will need a win against Barnsley in order to keep the pace for promotion.
Leon Barnett is out for the season for the Canaries.
Barnsley finds themself in the middle of the standings and tied Leeds United in the midweek.
Jacob Mellis left the Leeds game early with an injury and looks to miss for Barnsley.
Leeds United – Swansea
Eric Lichaj and Leeds United play Swansea in Championship play this weekend.
Lichaj started and went the distance in their midweek game against Barnsley. He looks to get the start again for United.
Fellow American Mike Grella has been loaned to League One club Swindon Town until the rest of the season so he will not be featuring for Leeds.
Leeds are holding on to the last playoff spot and hope to solidify themselves there or make a run at automatic promotion.
Bradley Johnson will miss for Leeds due to suspension. Paul Connolly looks to miss as well with a hamstring injury.
Swansea are currently second in the standings and hoping to stave off any potential threats to their promotion hopes. The Swans have won three league games in a row and are looking to keep that momentum this Saturday.
The Swans have no listed injury concerns.
Hull City – Cardiff City
Brad Guzan and Hull City look to continue their playoff push against Cardiff City.
Guzan started and went the distance for the Tigers in the midweek. He should get the start again this weekend.
Hull beat Derby County on Tuesday and have gone nine games unbeaten. The Tigers now have their sights on the last playoff spot which they are five points from.
Tjani Belaid looks to miss after coming off injured in Hull's midweek game. Cameron Stewart has ligament damage and should miss as well.
Cardiff are coming off a midweek win and looking to sneak into an automatic promotion spot. They trail Swansea only by a point for the last spot.
Seyi George Olofinjana and Michael Chopra came off with injuries in Cardiff's midweek game and they are likely to sit out against Hull.
Preston North End – Burnley
Eddie Johnson and Preston North End take on Burnley in weekend Championship play.
Johnson started and went 58 minutes in North End's midweek game. He looks again to feature for his new team.
Preston are currently last in the table and will need to start maximizing their points if they have any hope of staying in the Championship.
Iain Hume and Chris Brown have been injured in the past weeks for North End, but could contend for spots against Burnley.
Burnley are currently seven points from the last playoff spot and hope to make a run at it starting this weekend.
Burnley's Martin Paterson is set to miss with a thigh problem while Chris McCann will be sidelined as well with injury.
Carlisle United – Sheffield Wednesday
Frank Simek and Carlisle United take on Sheffield Wednesday in League One play.
Simek started and played the full ninety minutes for Carlisle in the midweek and should feature for the Cumbrians.
Carlisle are unbeaten in their last three games and hope to get a win for a possible push for the last playoff spot.
Paul Thirlwell and Sean McDaid will miss for Carlisle.
Wednesday are winless in their last ten games and hope to finally get three points against the Cumbrians. They tied Bournemouth in the midweek.
Wycombe Wanderers – Macclesfield
Jon-Paul Pittman and Wycombe Wanderers play Macclesfield in a League Two clash.
Pittman started and played 65 minutes in Wycombe's midweek win. He is set to feature once again this weekend.
Wycombe beat Burton Albion emphatically this week and look to keep their automatic promotion spot against Macclesfield.
Matty Bloomfield and Chris Westwood are questionable to play for Wycombe.
Macclesfield have gone four games unbeaten and look to keep that momentum against the Wanderers.
Marcus Hahnemann will be on the bench as Wolves welcome Blackpool to Molineux.
Jonathan Spector will look to make an impact from the bench for West Ham welcome Liverppol to Upton Park.
Anton Peterlin and Plymouth take on Colchester.