ANDREW VORCE - Saturday, March 5, 2011
Stuart Holden will battle against Michael Bradley and Brad Friedel as Bolton take on Aston Villa while Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones will look horns in the center of midfield when Fulham welcome Blackburn in a full weekend of English action.
Bolton - Aston Villa
Stuart Holden will look to score against Brad Friedel as Michael Bradley will hope to retain his starting position for Villa.
Bolton have only lost once in their last six outings, sitting just two points behind sixth placed Liverpool. Villa will look to get back to winning ways after being dismantled by Manchester City, but have only lost one other time in their last six outings, away to Manchester United. Villa were able to beat Blackburn at home 4-1
Villa will be without Carlos Cuellar who is out with a hamstring injury while Luke Young is slowly overcoming a knee injury. Andreas Weimann is out until the last week of March with an ankle injury.
Bolton will be without Sam ricketts for the rest of the season as he is suffering from a ruptured achilles. Zat Knight continues to be sidelined with his knee injury and is not expected back for the weekend. Jlloyd Samuel continues to struggle with injury after picking up a calf muscle strain.
Fulham - Blackburn
It's a battle for positioning as Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones squad off in weekend Premier League action.
Blackburn are in serious need of points as they have gone on a five game winless streak only picking up four points out of a possible 24 in their last six games. Rovers tried to keep a tight ship against Aston Villa but broke late on and eventually fell 4-1 away form home. Blackburn are without David Joilett and Phil Jones for the trip.
Fulham have only lost once in their last six outings, including a 4-0 win over Tottenham. Fulham are only without Phillippe Senderos for the home game, having a fully fit squad to face Blackburn.
Newcastle - Everton
Tim Howard will be looking to swap places with Newcastle United as Everton slightly trail their weekend opponents.
Everton sit just three points off of Newcastle having played one less game. David Moyes will be looking for his boys in blue to respond after being dumped out of the FA Cup at home by Reading during the midweek. Everton will continue to be without Tim Cahill and Marouane Fellaini with the latter being sidelined for the season with a sprained ankle.
Newcastle will look to introduce Stephen Ireland back into first team action as the winger has recovered from a knee injury. Hatem Ben Arfa will also look to be in contention after recovering from a broken leg. Dan Gosling is struggling with a knee injury while Alan Smith is out for the season with an ankle injury. Shola Ameobi and Dan Guthrie are Newcastle's last two injury concerns.
Preston North End – Norwich City
Eddie Johnson and Preston North End take on Zak Whitbread and Norwich City.
Johnson came on as a sub and played the final 20 minutes of North End's game last week. He should again feature against Preston.
Whitbread started and went the distance for the Canaries last week and should get the start again.
Preston are coming off of a loss last week to Burnley and are hoping to give their fans some something to cheer about.
Norwich City are coming off a win against Barnsley and are looking to solidify their spot in the playoffs.
Leon Barnet and Chris Martin look to miss for Norwich City.
Leeds United – Doncaster
Eric Lichaj and Leeds United play Doncaster in Championship play this weekend.
Lichaj started and went the distance in United's loss against Swansea City. He should again get the start against Doncaster.
Leeds are holding on to the last promotion playoff spot and need the win to stave off Leicester City.
Patrick Kisnorbo is not available due to an Achilles injury for Leeds, while Paul Connolly is out with a hamstring problem.
After a win last week against Derby, Doncaster looks to build on that momentum and take the three points this Saturday.
Doncaster comes into the game with many injury concerns. Billy Sharp and Jason Euell are new on the injury list. James Chambers, out with a hamstring problem, and James O'Connor, missing with a foot injury, have been missing long term.
Carlisle United – Brighton
Frank Simek and Carlisle United travel to play Brighton in League One action.
Simek is a regular started for the Cumbrians and should again feature.
Carlisle beat Charlton last week and look to make a run at a playoff spot.
Lubo Michalik will miss with a hamstring injury while and captain Paul Thirlwell is nursing a calf problem.
Brighton looks to hold on to their strong lead in the League One standings and build on their win over Yeovil this week.
Adam El-Abd for Brighton will miss due to yellow card accumulation. Jim McNulty is out with a foot injury and Jamie Smith looks to also miss with a foot problem.
Wycombe Wanderers – Aldershot
Jon-Paul Pittman and Wycombe take on Aldershot in League Two play.
Pittman started and went the distance in the Wanderers tough loss against Chesterfield. He should again feature this weekend.
Wycombe hopes to bounce back after their midweek loss and keep pace to keep their promotion spot.
Rob Kiernan looks to miss with a hip injury for Wycombe while Andy Sandell is sidelined with a knee problem.
Midfielder Alex Rodman could miss again with a calf injury for Aldershot.
Jonathan Spector will hope to feature from the bench as West Ham host Stoke.
Marcus Hahnemann and Wolves take on Tottenham at home.
Anton Peterlin and Plymouth take on Sheffield Wednesday.