JOHN KRETLOW - Sunday, April 24, 2011
A slew of ear;y games in England will go a long way towards deciding promotion aspirations for many Americans in the Championship.
Fulham - Bolton
Clint Dempsey and Fulham take on Stuart Holden's Bolton at Craven Cottage.
Bolton need only to draw on Wednesday to mathematically be safe from relegation, but Wanderers will have their eyes ahead of them to sixth placed Liverpool.
Bolton are without Holden until August after picking up a knee injury against. Manchester United. Bolton are also without Sean Davis and Sam Ricketts due to injury.
Fulham sit in 13th but could jump to ninth with a Wednesday win. Fulham have been up and down this season but will be looking for a win after drawing 1-1 against Wolverhampton Wanderers. The Cottagers will be without Damien Duff who is out with an Achilles injury while Diomansy Kamara and Phillippe Senderos are both out.
Dempsey will start as usual.
Crystal Palace - Leeds United
Eric Lichaj and Leeds United take on Crystal Palace in an important game for both teams.
Lichaj started and went the distance for United in their tie against Reading last weekend and should feature once again this Monday.
Leeds is out of a playoff spot at the moment on goal differential and will need a win to keep pace in the standings.
United look to be without Luciano Becchio, who is suffering from a hamstring injury, while Lloyd Sam will be sidelined with a knee problem.
Palace are currently three points above the relegation zone and will need the win as well to assure themselves safety.
Sean Scannell will miss for Palace due to suspension.
Norwich City - Derby County
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City look to keep their promotion spot, as they take on Derby County in a crucial game Monday.
Whitbread started and went the distance for the Canaries on Friday and should again feature against Derby.
Norwich is currently ahead of Cardiff by one point for the last automatic promotion spot, and will need the win to inch closer to Premier League soccer next season.
The Canaries look to field the same lineup from their Friday win over Ipswich Town.
Derby went down to Burnley this past weekend and will look to spoil Norwich's promotion hopes.
Jamie Ward will miss due to suspension for Derby. Paul Green, Chris Porter, Tomasz Cywka, Jake Buxton, and Saul Deeney all are out with injuries.
Bristol City - Nottingham Forest
Robbie Findley and Nottingham Forest take on Bristol City in a crucial Championship battle.
Findley made his debut for Forest last Friday with a ten minute cameo and hopes to feature once again versus Bristol.
Forest currently hold the last playoff spot by the slimmest of margins and will need to win in order stave off Leeds and Burnley.
Forest look to be without Nathan Tyson who is suffering from a hamstring injury. Dexter Blackstock, Kelvin Wilson, Paul Anderson, and Joel Lynch are also sidelined for Nottingham.
Bristol are coming off two straight losses and are looking to reverse their luck and end their season on a high note.
City's Nicky Maynard will miss due to suspension.
Preston North End - Cardiff City
Eddie Johnson and Preston North End take on Cardiff City in a game of high implications.
Johnson started and went the distance for North End last weekend and should feature once again.
Preston went down emphatically to Millwall and now find themselves in a deep hole in regards to relegation. They need to avoid a loss and hope Crystal Palace does not beat Leeds if they want any chance at safety.
North End's Bongani Khumalo looks to miss with a foot injury.
Cardiff City are only one point behind Norwich City, who hold the last automatic promotion spot. They look for the three points to hopefully jump over the Canaries.
Mark Hudson and David Marshal are the only injury worries for Cardiff.
Carlisle United - Leyton Orient
Frank Simek and Carlisle United take on Leyton Orient in weekday League One play.
Simek started and went the distance in the Cumbrians weekend win over Rochdale and he should again feature against Orient.
Carlisle are out of the mix for a playoff birth and are not in danger of relegation. Though, the team will be looking to finish the season on a high streak and a win against Leyton Orient would help their cause.
Tom Taiwo could miss for Carlisle after he was carted off in the final minutes of last weekend's win.
Leyton Orient are only three points from a playoff spot and will go with everything for the win.
Scott McGleish, Ben Chorley, Jimmy Smith, Paul-Jose Mpoku, and Alex Revell all look to miss due to injuries for Orient.
Plymouth Argyle - Milton Keynes Dons
Anton Peterlin and Plymouth Argyle take on Milton Keynes Dons in a League One battle.
Peterlin started and played 89 minutes in Argyle's win over Dagenham & Redbridge and should feature once again for the Pilgrims.
Plymouth are deep in the relegation zone and will need a win for even the slimmest chances at safety.
Rory Patterson is suspended for the game and will miss for Plymouth. Simon Walton looks to miss as well after an injury forced him out of their win over Dag & Red.
MK Dons are currently sitting comfortably in a playoff spot and will look to finish off their season in good form.
Rowan Vine will miss due to his loan deal expiring for MK Dons. Danny Woodards will miss due to a hamstring injury.
Wycombe take on Crewe Alexandria, but American Jon-Paul Pittman is not expected to feature.