BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, April 27, 2012
In a full weekend of English action, Tim Ream and Bolton are set for their biggest game of the year when they visit Sunderland with an opportunity to move out of the relegation zone.
Everton - Fulham
Both Fulham and Everton are hoping to remain in the top ten in the Premier League when they square off against each other on Saturday at Goodison Park.
Everton's Tim Howard and Fulham's Clint Dempsey are both integral parts of their club's success this season and both should start on Saturday.
Everton are coming off one of the most exciting games of the season last weekend when they rallied from a 4-2 deficit late in the scond half to draw Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Fulham are currently enjoying a strong run where they have three wins and a draw in their last four games. Last weekend they defeated Wigan Athletic 2-1 at home.
Everton will be without injured Leighton Baines while Fulham will be missing Stephen Kelly, Bryan Ruiz, and Steve Sidwell.
West Brom - Aston Villa
Mired in a seven game winless streak that has left them in a relegation battle, Aston Villa have an important test ahead of them on Saturday when they visit West Bromwich.
Eric Lichaj is likely to start the game for Villa while Brad Guzan will start on the bench.
Aston Villa have only one once since January 21, and their last win came on March 10 when they defeated Fulham. Since then they have only mustered three draws. Earlier this week they suffered a disappointing setback with a 2-1 home loss to Bolton.
West Brom will be without injured James Morrison, Steven Reid, and Zoltan Gera.
Aston Villa will be missing Darren Bent, Fabien Delph, and Richard Dunne with injuries. Captain Stilyan Petrov is battling leukemia.
Sunderland - Bolton
After earning an important three points midweek against Aston Villa, Bolton will be hoping to pull out of the relegation zone with a win over Sunderland on Saturday.
Tim Ream has emerged as a regular starter for Bolton and should start again on Saturday.
The win over Aston Villa moved Bolton within a point of Wigan for the final spot clear of the relegation Zone. Bolton, however, do have a game in hand over all the clubs around them in the relegation fight.
Sunderland have one loss and four draws in their last five games. They currently sit comfortably in the middle of the table with no danger of getting relegation and no hope of contending for a spot in Europe.
Sunderland will be missing Sebastien Larsson, Kieran Richardson, Connor Wickham, Lee Cattermole, Wes Brown and Titus Bramble all due to injuries.
Bolton are also without several players. Fabrice Muamba, Tyrone Mears, Ricardo Gardner, Chung-Yong Lee, and US international Stuart Holden will not dress.
Tottenham - Blackburn
Tottenham will be looking to move back into contention for a Champions berth when they host Blackburn on Sunday.
Brad Friedel is expected to start for Tottenhem in goal.
Tottenham had a strong hold for most the season on one of the Premier League's four Champions League spots but they have not won any of their last four games and suffered a stunning 1-0 loss to Queens Park Rangers last weekend.
The poor run now has Tottenham in fifth place and three points behind fourth place Newcastle United.
While the game is important for Tottenhem, it is crucial for Blackburn who are in the relegation zone. They are in 19th place and are three points from safety.
For the game Tottenham are carrying a number of injuries and will be without Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Younes Kaboul, and Luis Saha. Grant Hanley is the only injury for Blackburn.
Watford - Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough must defeat Watford on Saturday to keep their slight chance of qualifying for the promotional playoffs alive.
For Middlesbrough to qualify they must defeat Watford and also hope Crystal Palace win against Cardiff City.
American central defender Seb Hines is expected to start for Middlesbrough.
Middlesbrough were in solid shape in the middle of March but an eight game winless streak saw them fall out of a playoff position. Recently they have returned to their winning ways with seven points in their last three games including a win last weekend against Southampton.
Boro's only injury is team captain Matthew Bates. Watdord are expected to have a full strength squad.
Bury - Oldham Athletic
After a two goal game last weekend, Mike Grella will hope for continued success with Bury when they host Oldham on Saturday.
The former Duke University star has four goals in his last three games and has helped Bury to 13 points in their last six games.
Oldham United enter the game in a slump but they are however safe from relegation. They have not won a game in their last six and have only earned two draws over that period.
Bury will be missing Andrai Jones who is out with a suspension.
Carlisle United - Exeter City
It will be a huge game for both Carlisle United and Exeter City when the two teams on different ends of the standings square off against each other on Saturday.
American defender Frank Simek is expected to start for Carlisle United.
Carlisle United currently sits in eighth place in the League One standings are three points out of a promotional playoff spot. Last month they were in a good position but they have lost their last three games and have not won in their last five.
Exeter, however, are in the drop zone and are five points from safety with just two games remaining. A loss would guarantee their relegation into League Two next year.
Exeter City will be missing Danny Coles, Jamie Cureton, and Jake Taylor.
Carlisle United will be without Lee Miller, Chris Chantler, and Rory Loy.
Northampton Town - Gillingham
Northampton will be looking to finish out their season on a positive note after successfully clinching their spot in League Two next season and avoiding relegation with a draw against Hereford United.
Neal Kitson is expected to start in goal for Northampton.
Gillingham does have a distant hope to earn a spot in League Two promotional playoffs but they will need to win their remaining two games and hope that sixth place Crewe Alexandra stumble in their final two.
Zak Whitbread has been missing since March but he will hope to play this weekend for Norwich when they host Liverpool.
Conor Doyle's season is over for Derby County and the American forward will not play this weekend against Peterborough
Jonathan Spector is not expected to be part of Birmingham City's team this weekend against Reading.
Robbie Rogers is out injured for Leeds United and will not suit up against Leicester City on Saturday.
Robbie Findley is not expected to be part of Nottingham Forest's team this weekend against Portsmouth.
Anton Peterlin will hope to make the gameday squad for Walsall when they take on Huddersfield Town on Saturday.