ANDREW VORCE - Friday, April 29, 2011
Jermaine Jones and Blackburn are in the relegation dogfight as they take on Stuart Holden's Bolton while Tim Howard and Everton have the chance to help out with an away trip to Wigan in a full weekend of English action.
West Brom - Aston Villa
Michael Bradley and Brad Friedel will look to to win away at West Brom as Brad Guzan returns to the Villans roster.
Guzan has rejoined the Villans after two stints on loan at Hull City. Bradley has still been adjusting to his time in Birmingham and will hope to make the bench this weekend.
Villa will feel they are relatively safe from relegation, sitting in 13th place with seven points between them and the relegation zone.
West Brom are only one point and one place below Villa but have not won a game in their last two outings. A win for either team could see either team jump into ninth place.
Graham Dorrans is out for West Brom with an ankle injury while goalkeeper Scott Carson will look to shake off a thigh injury to line up against his former team.
Wigan - Everton
Tim Howard and Everton will look to to keep pace with cross town rivals Liverpool with a weekend win at Wigan.
Wigan are in desperate need of points as they currently sit third from bottom and in the relegation zone. A win could lift them to 16th, but a weekend loss could have more dramatic effects.
Wigan are relatively full strength and will be bolstered by the return of Maynor Figueroa who missed the Latics' last two games through suspension.
Everton will have the benefit of having Tim Cahill back in the line up and will be pushing against Victor Anichebe, Jermaine Beckford and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov for a place in the starting lineup. MIkel Arteta is still suffering from a hamstring injury while Marouanne Fellaini and Louis Saha are both still out injured.
Blackburn - Bolton
Jermaine Jones and Blackburn can not afford to drop any more points as they welcome Stuart Holden's Bolton.
Blackburn are only one point above safety but will find Bolton in full force. They could be rooted firmly in the relegation zone if results go against them, and will hope David Dunn passes his late fitness test after struggling with a calf injury. The team is also without David Hoilett while Ryan Nelsen and Vince Grella are out injured.
Bolton are without American central midfielder Holden after his season ending knee injury sustained during Bolton's game several weeks ago against Manchester United.
Daniel Sturridge missed Bolton's last game due to an ankle injury while Sean Davis is also a slight doubt. Sam Ricketts is the only other injury, out until July with a calf injury.
Sunderland - Fulham
Clint Dempsey and Fulham will look to replicate their midweek result as they travel to Sunderland.
Fulham can only hold on to their ninth place spot, with five teams able to overtake the Cottagers, including Sunderland. The visitors will be without Damian Duff who is out with an ankle injury while Diomansy Kamara is out with a back injury.
Dempsey was the hero of Fulham's 3-0 midweek win over Bolton, scoring the opening two goals to become Fulham's all time leading scorer in the Premier League.
Steve Bruce is out of all recognized front men with Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck both going out injured in their last outing, although oddly enough Sunderland were able to score four goals en route to a home win over Wigan last weekend.
Fraizer Campbell and Ryan Noble are both out with knee injuries while Titus Bramble is also injured. Additionally, Anton Ferdinand is out with a hamstring injury while Phil Bardsley is suffering from a concussion and will be assessed ahead of the game. Kieron Richardson is out with a calf muscle strain while Craig Gordon is out until October with a knee injury. John Mensah will look to return in the coming weeks from a calf muscle strain.
Manchester City - West Ham
Jonathan Spector could be in line for his second consecutive start as West Ham take on Manchester City.
Spector was included in the Hammers line up against Chelsea and had a very bright game, but the team eventually fell mercy to the wrath of the Chelsea squad.
The American's inclusion came at the expense of PFA Player of the Year Scott Parker who is out with an Achilles injury. Mark Noble is out with a groin injury, while Matthew Upson is out with a chest infection. Junior Stanislas and Peter Kurucz are the last two players out through injury.
Manchester City will look to continue to stay in the top four of the Premier League but are without some key figures.
City have a four-point lead of fifth place Tottenham but will be without talismanic goal scorer Carlos Tevez for up to two more weeks. Jerome Boateng and Micah Richards are both very doubtful while Shay Given is out until the end of May with a shoulder injury.
Nottingham Forest – Scunthorpe
Robbie Findley and Nottingham Forest look to solidify their spot in the playoffs with a win over relegation fighting Scunthorpe this weekend.
Findley came on in the 65th minute of Forest's win over Bristol City last week. The American forward is likely to feature once again.
Nottingham has a two-point lead over Millwall for the last promotion playoff spot, making Saturday's match crucial for Forest. A victory for the Reds along with other results going their way could clinch a spot in the playoffs.
Forest's Nathan Tyson is suffering from a hamstring injury and is questionable. Dexter Blackstock, Kelvin Wilson, Paul Anderson, and Joel Lynch are also sidelined for Nottingham.
Although poised for League One soccer next season, Scunthorpe did beat Forest earlier this season. They look to spoil Nottingham's promotion dreams with a shocking win this weekend.
Josh Wright will be sidelined for Scunthorpe with a back injury, while Andy Hughes is likely to miss due to a stomach strain. Matt Godden is questionable with a groin problem.
Leeds United – Burnley
Eric Lichaj and Leeds United look to jump back into a promotion playoff spot with a win over Burnley in Championship play this Saturday.
Lichaj has been a regular starter for Leeds since joining on loan. He is likely to feature once again in the starting lineup.
United currently trail Robbie Findley's Nottingham Forest by three points for the last spot in the playoffs, making this weekend's game a must win.
Luciano Becchio is questionable to feature due to a hamstring injury for Leeds, while Lloyd Sam could miss again with a knee problem.
Burnley are one point ahead of Leeds in the standings and missing out on a playoff spot by only two points. They come into the game on a four game unbeaten streak, and will look to extend it with a win over United.
The Clarets left last week's tie against Portsmouth unscathed and should field the same lineup.
Preston North End – Ipswich Town
Eddie Johnson and Preston North End take on Ipswich Town in Championship play.
Johnson did not feature last week but is hopeful to feature this weekend.
Preston are officially relegated and will be playing League One soccer next season. North End though will want to end their season on a high note and will look for a win over Ipswich.
Sean St. Ledger and David Gray are out for the rest of the season for Preston. Bongani Khumalo looks to also miss with a foot injury he sustained last week.
Town have no relegation worries and are out of the running for a playoff spot. They have no significant injuries, though lineup changes are likely with only pride to play for.
Carlisle United – Dagenham & Redbridge
Frank Simek and Carlisle United take on Dagenham & Redbridge in League One action.
Simek looks for the start once again for the Cumbrians.
Carlisle went down to Leyton Orient last week and will want to bounce back with a win this weekend. The Cumbrians go into the game with no injury problems.
Dag & Red are coming off four straight losses and will need to reverse their fortunes to get out of the relegation zone. They are currently one point from safety.
The Daggers left last week's loss to Huddersfield unscathed and have no major injury problems.
Marcus Hahnemann will be on the bench as Wolverhampton Wanderers take on Birmingham.
Conor Doyle hopes to feature as Derby County take on Bristol City.
Anton Peterlin could feature for Plymouth Argyle as they take on Exeter City
Jon-Paul Pittman is questionable to feature in Wycombe's game against Bury.
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City play Portsmouth on Monday.