ANDREW VORCE - Friday, April 15, 2011
Stuart Holden will miss the FA Cup semifinal for Bolton but two all-Yank affairs sees Tim Howard and Jermaine Jones go head-to-head while Jonathan Spector welcomes Michael Bradley and Brad Friedel to Upton Park.
Everton - Blackburn
Everton will look to climb closer to a European placement with a weekend win over Jermaine Jones' Blackburn Rovers.
Everton are just four points behind Liverpool and will look to make up the points with a home victory. Everton are carrying injuries but three players are very near their comebacks. Tim Cahill could return at a vital time along with Seamus Coleman and Jack Rodwell. Jose Baxter and Mikel Arteta are still injured while Louis Saha is out for the season.
Blackburn are just above Birmingham City and only three points ahead of 19th placed Wolverhampton Wanderers. Blackburn will be without Ryan Nelsen as he has undergone knee surgery. Blackburn are also without Keith Andrews and Vince Grella as the pair are sidelined due to injury. Blackburn will need a result if they look to keep their Premier League status next season.
West Ham - Aston Villa
Jonathan Spector will look to make an impact from the bench as West Ham host Michael Bradley and Brad Friedel's Aston Villa.
Spector made an appearance in West Ham's 3-0 loss at Bolton but West Ham will be aiming to get points off of fellow strugglers Aston Villa. A home win could put them just two points away from Villa and as high as 15th place. The Hammers are without Junior Stanislas while James Collison and Peter Kurucz are struggling with knee injuries.
Villa hope to climb higher in the Premier League and create back to back wins with a victory at Upton Park. Villa could reach as high as ninth with a win, with Newcastle only two points higher but five spots higher. The Villans are carrying no injuries, so Gerard Houllier will need his men fired up raring to go to get an away victory.
Norwich City – Nottingham Forest
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City take on Nottingham Forest in a game with promotion implications.
Whitbread is a regular started for the Canaries and should feature once again this weekend.
Norwich are currently third in the standings and only a point from an automatic promotion spot. Forest are only one point from reaching a playoff spot and will equally be looking to capture three points this Saturday.
The Canaries will be without Grant Holt who left the last game with a hamstring injury.
Nottingham's Paul Anderson will miss with a rib injury while American Robbie Findley has resumed training for Forest, but still will not feature. Chris Cohen is sidelined as well with a suspension.
Leeds United – Watford
Eric Lichaj and Leeds United take on Watford in a crucial Championship matchup.
Lichaj started and went the distance in United's loss to Derby in the midweek. He is expected to start once again for Leeds.
Leeds is holding on barely to the last playoff spot and will need a win to keep their hopes of promotion. Watford are seven points from the last playoff spot and will look for the win to keep their dwindling hopes alive.
Robert Snodgrss, Sanchez Watt and George McCartney are all questionable to play for Leeds.
Stephen McGinn is the only injury worry for Watford.
Preston North End – Sheffield United
Eddie Johnson and Preston North End take on Sheffield United in a relegation battle.
Johnson has featured regularly since arriving at Preston and should start again up top for North End this weekend.
Preston and Sheffield are in the relegation zone and are both in desperate need for three points if either wants a chance at Championship action next season.
Preston look to be without Sean St. Ledger and Leon Cort because of injuries.
Sheffield's Stephen Quinn, Daniel Bogdanovic, and Joe Mattock are doubtful to play.
Carlisle United – Colchester
Frank Simek and Carlisle United host Colchester in a League One weekend matchup.
Simek is expected to start at defense as usual for the Cumbrians.
Carlisle are coming off a scoreless tie against Leyton Orient and are hoping for some offense this time around.
Ben Marshall is the only injury problem for Carlisle, though the Cumbrians may experiment with their lineup since relegation nor promotion are possibilities for the rest of the season.
Colchester are seven points from a playoff spot, and although their chances are small at promotion, they will go for the win against the Cumbrians.
David Perkins is the only new injury worry for Colchester.
Stuart Holden will miss out of Bolton's Semi-Final match up against Stoke at Wembley due to injury.
Anton Peterlin and Plymouth take on Peterborough in League One play.
Jon-Paul Pittman and Wycombe take on Northampton in League Two action.