TAHARKA TAYLOR - Friday, August 19, 2011
Tim Howard and Everton finally kick off their Premier League season against promoted team QPR while Clint Dempsey and Fulham will try to build on their Thursday-night Europa League win as they visit Wolves.
Everton - Queens Park Rangers
Tim Howard and Everton play their first Premier League game of the season when they host Queens Park Rangers on Saturday at Goodison Park.
Tom Howard will start in goal after leading Everton to a seventh place finish in the Premier League standings last season. The club returns with a familiar supporting cast after a particularly slow summer on the transfer market.
Queens Park Rangers will look to put last weekend's warm return to top flight soccer behind them however this weekend the club faces its first road game of the season in what will likely prove to be an even more difficult task.
Everton are without Seamus Coleman and Diniyar Bilyaletdinove due to suspension but it has been announced that Mikel Arteta is available.
Queens Park Rangers' fullback Clint Hill is out after being shown a straight red card for a head but against Bolton while Kieron Dyer is out with a foot injury after being carried off on a stretcher in the same game. Strikers Jamie Mackie and Rob Hulse are out with a broken leg and a knee injury respectively.
Wolverhampton Wanderers - Fulham
Clint Dempsey and Fulham enter Sunday's match up with Wolverhampton Wanderers full of confidence after Thursday's convincing 3 - 0 win at home over Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk in the Europa League.
Dempsey scored two goals in the midweek contest and will look to carry that momentum into the weekend and spark a Fulham offense that failed to convert numerous opportunities in last week's scoreless draw at home against Aston Villa.
Wolverhampton head into the weekend aiming to duplicate last week's solid 2-1 win at Blackburn.
Both teams almost have full squads at their disposal. The exceptions being Fulham's Simon Davies who is out with a knee injury while Wolves midfielder Adlène Guedioura continues to recover from ankle surgery.
Middlesbrough - Birmingham City
Jonathan Spector could start in midfield when Birmingham City travel to take on Middlesbrough in Sunday's Championship match up.
Spector made his Birmingham City debut on Thursday night in a Europa League contest against Nacional marked by a strong performance that saw Spector go the distance in midfield while filling in for the injured Jordon Mutch.
Birmingham City's Keith Fahey, Scott Dann and Morgaro Gomis are all questionable after missing Thursday's game with minor injuries.
Middlesbrough midfielder Merouane Zemmamam is out with a hip muscle injury while Kevin Thomson is out with an ankle problem; however midweek signing Faris Haroun is available for selection.
Walsall - Yeovil Town
Anton Peterlin should start in the Walsall midfield as they take on Yeovil Town Saturday night.
Peterlin started and went the full ninety minutes in Walsall's 3-2 defeat at the hands of Sheffield United midweek while Yeovil Town are coming off a 1-0 loss to Milton Keynes Dones last Tuesday night.
Neither club have reported any injuries at this time though Adam Chambers will serve the final game of his three-game suspension.
Brad Friedel will most likely back up Gomes when Tottenham Hotspur open up their Premier League season with a difficult trip to Old Trafford when they face Manchester United.
It is doubtful that either Eric Lichaj or Brad Guzan will take the field for Aston Villa on Saturday when they visit Blackburn Rovers.
Zak Whitbread's status is in doubtful for Sunday's match up between Norwhich City and Stoke City. Whitbread left last weekend's 1-1 tie at Wigan in the second half with a knee injury.
Robbie Findley will likely start on the bench but could be used as a second half substitute when Leicester City visit Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
Cody Cropper could be on the bench for Ipswich on Saturday for their evening visit to Peterborough United.
Jemal Johnson will likely come off the bench when Southend United Torquay United in League Two action on Saturday.
Jon-Paul Pittman will hope to see minutes for Oxford United on Sunday when they visit Swindon Town in League 2 action.