ANDREW VORCE - Friday, March 18, 2011
Clint Dempsey will look to put one past international teammate Tim Howard when Fulham travel to Everton while Stuart Holden and Bolton take on Premier League leaders Manchester United in a full weekend of English action.
Aston Villa - Wolverhampton
Michael Bradley will be looking to help Brad Friedel and Aston Villa topple Wolverhampton Wanderers at home.
Wolves American keeper Marcus Hahnemann has been benched with Wayne Hennessey claiming the starting keeper role. Wolves have five playeres out with Michael Kightly, Michael Mancienne, and Stephen Mouyokolo all out with knee injuries. Stephen Hunt is out until the beginning of April with a calf muscle strain while Adlene Guedioura is still recovering from a broken leg.
Villa have defensive problems but could get Carlos Cuellar back from a hamstring injury. Richard Dunne and Luke Young are both out until April while James Collins and Andreas Weimann are both still carrying injuries. Villa will be looking to climb even higher in the Premier League with a home win over the struggling Wolves.
Blackburn - Blackpool
Jermaine Jones and Blackburn will have an interesting game on their hands when Blackpool come to town on Saturday.
Jones' Blackburn has played very defensively against attacking teams recently and Blackpool will surely be looking to attack from the starting whistle. Gary Taylor-Fletcher could miss out due to a hamstring injury while Paul Rachubka is out with a knee injury. Matthew Gilks has a few weeks left to recover from a knee injury while Craig Basham and Billy Clarke are out until May.
Blackburn are carrying a few minor injuries but only Keith Andrews is doubtful for the weekend clash as he sits out with a groin strain. Vince Grella could play a part after recovering from an achilles problem while David Dunne and Phil Jones are both under the monitor to see if they will be healthy for the weekend.
Manchester United - Bolton
Stuart Holden and Bolton could put a further dent in title contenders Manchester United's ambitions as they travel to the Theatre of Dreams.
Gretar Steinsson has been struggling with being sick during training but should still be available for squad selection while Mark Davies is doubtful with an ankle injury. Sam Savis and Zat Knight are both still out while Jlloyd Samuel looks to return in the coming weeks. Sam Ricketts' season has been ended as he sits out until August with a ruptured achilles.
Manchester United top the injury list with 10 reported injuries. Darren Fletcher could be selected after overcoming an illness while Ji-sung Park looks to bounce back from a hamstring injury. Owen Hargreaves and Rio Ferdinand are both carrying injuries with Anderson sidelined with a knee injury. Nemanja Vidic and Rafael are both out for another week while John O'Shea and Andres Lindegaard join Michael Owen on the sidelines.
Everton - Fulham
Tim Howard will be looking to keep Clint Dempsey and Fulham off of the score sheet when Everton play host to the Cottagers.
Everton could sorely miss the influence of Mikel Arteta who has revitalized his team when he's played in their recent outings. Everton will need to test the fitness of Tim Cahill who has missed out through an ankle injury as of late. Marouanne Fellaini will be out until July with a sprained ankle.
Fulham continue to be without Steven Sidwell who has been sidelined through a knee injury while Dimoansy Kamara has been nursing a back injury. Philippe Senderos continues his time on the sideline with a calf and shin problem. Fulham sit just two points below Everton in 11th with two less points.
Norwich City – Hull City
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City take on Brad Guzan and Hull City.
Whitbread started and went the distance in the Canaries' win over Bristol City and should again start this weekend. Guzan also was in the starting eleven for Hull's win over Coventry City and should start against Norwich.
The Canaries are coming off a big win last week and are looking to keep their automatic promotion spot.
Norwich City left their last game unscathed and should field the same lineup.
Hull also come into the game with momentum and are hoping to keep their late push towards a promotion playoff spot.
The Tigers are likely to miss Aaron Mclean and Andy Dawson who were both carted off in Hull's win over Coventry City last week.
Leeds United – Sheffield United
Eric Lichaj and Leeds United continue their push towards promotion against Sheffield United this weekend.
Lichaj started and went the distance last week and should again feature against Sheffield United.
Leeds tied Ipswich in their last game and are hoping to maximize their points this week with a win instead to keep up with the playoff race.
Sheffield United lost to Watford last week and are currently in the relegation zone. A win would be crucial in their fight for safety.
They look to miss goalie Richard Wright with injury.
Preston North End – Coventry City
Eddie Johnson and Preston North End take on Coventry City in a Championship clash.
Johnson started and played 85 minutes in Preston's emphatic win over Scunthorpe in the midweek. He should again start against Coventry.
North End are currently last in the standings and will need a win this weekend to continue their uphill battle towards safety.
Preston's Defender Leon Cort looks to miss with a hamstring injury.
Coventry are coming off a tie against Burnley, but they will hope for a win to distance themselves from the bottom half of the standings.
Carlisle United – Bournemouth
Frank Simek and Carlisle United play Bournemouth in League One play.
Simek is a regular started for the Cumbrians and he should again feature this weekend.
The Cumbrians are hoping for a win after a midweek tie to bottom dwellers Plymouth Argyle.
Carlisle could be without Ben Marshall who was carted off in last weekend's loss to Petersborough.
Bournemouth are currently in a playoff spot and a win could help them solidify their spot.
They look to be without Rhoys Wiggins who was subbed out early with injury in Bournemouth's loss to Southampton.
Swindon Town – Huddersfield
Mike Grella and Swindon Town look for a crucial win over Huddersfield in League One play.
Grella scored in Swindon's tie last week and he looks to feature once again for his on-loan team.
Swindon are currently in the relegation zone, but a win this week could help boost their chances for safety.
They will miss Vincent Pericard and Milan Misun who have been out long term.
Anthony Pilkington is suffering from a broken leg while Damien Johnson's knee will keep him sidelined. Antony Kay's ankle will keep him from playing and Lee Peltier will miss due to suspension.
Jonathan Spector will start from the bench as West ham take on cross town rivals Tottenham at White Heart Lane.
Anton Peterlin will start on the bench for Plymouth as they take on Rochdale.
Jon-Paul Pittman and Wycombe take on Shrewsbury.