PREVIEW: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Friday, December 4, 2009
The Premier League will be the area of interest this weekend as at least six Americans should be starting for their respective teams.

Aston Villa - Hull City

Brad Friedel will return to the starting line-up for Villa , and Brad Guzan back to the bench after role-reversal in Carling Cup action in midweek. Jozy Altidore should start for City, who have not lost in four games.

Curtis Davies is still suffering from a dislocated shoulder, and will miss the contest for the Villans. Also doubtful are John Carew with a hamstring injury and James Collins with a groin strain. Carew's injury will mean another opportunity for Emile Heskey, who has scored in his last two outings.

Ian Ashbee is not expected to play before May 2010 because of a torn PCL. Craig Fagan is doubtful with a chest injury, as is Seyi Olofinjana with a hamstring injury.

The Villans will be keen to improve their top four challenge after drawing four of their last six league outings, whereas the Tigers will want to carry on their improved play in recent weeks.

West Ham United - Manchester United

Jonathan Spector will be hoping to start the game against one of his former clubs, having joined the Hammers from United in 2006.

Carlton Cole, Valon Behrami and Luis Boa Morte are all looking to be missing long-term with knee injuries, and the hosts will also be without Calum Davenport who was stabbed in the leg during an incident outside of his home, and Dean Ashton who is suffering from an ankle injury.

Alessandro Diamanti with a hip and thigh injury and Matthew Upson with a hamstring injury are also both doubtful for the game.

The Red Devils will definitely be without Rio Ferdinand in the defense who has a calf muscle strain, and Owen Hargreaves who is struggling with eternal knee problems. Edwin Van de Sar may return after a knee injury, but John O' Shea with a thigh muscle strain, Johnny Evans with a calf strain and Fabio with a groins strain are struggling to be fit, with Saturday's game likely too soon for them to return.

West Ham will want to try and build on last week's win over Burnley and move away from the relegation places. The visitors will be keen to win in order to try and cut the gap on League leaders Chelsea.

Wolverhampton Wanderers - Bolton Wanderers

Marcus Hahnemann started his first Premier League game for Wolves last weekend, and will hope to hold on to the starting jersey against fellow-strugglers Bolton.

Michael Kightly heard this week that he will need to undergo ankle surgery, and is likely to miss eight weeks of action, and the news is no better for Matt Murray who has had a setback to his knee injury after being taken off in a reserve team game in midweek.

There is some hope of a return for Chris Iwelumo after a foot injury, Ronald Zubar following a thigh muscle strain and David Jones from a knee injury, but all will face fitness tests.

The Trotters will definitely be without Sean Davies with an ACL tear and Joey O' Brien also with a knee injury. There is some hope that Mustapha Riga and Danny Shittu will recover in time from hamstring injuries.

Both teams will be hoping a positive result can kick-start their season, and help them to move away from the relegation zone.

Everton - Tottenham Hotspur

Tim Howard will start against the free-scoring Spurs attack on Sunday, and hope to rack up his first league shut-out in many weeks.

The midweek Europa League win over AEK proved costly for the Toffees as they lost Sylvain Distin and Dan Gosling to hamstring injuries, in addition to Jo with a knee injury.

Phil Neville, Mikel Arteta, Phil Jagielka , Victor Anichebe and James Vaughan are still missing with knee injuries, whilst Jack Rodwell is suffering with a groin strain and Leon Osman with an ankle injury remain doubtful.

Carlo Cudicini will be out for the season for the Spurs with a wrist injury and Luka Modric is still missing due to a broken leg. Also doubtful for Spurs are Ledley King with a hamstring injury and Jonathan Woodgate with a groin injury.

Everton are keen to begin moving away from relegation worries, whereas third-place Tottenham have ambitions on qualifying for the European Champions League.

Fulham - Sunderland

Clint Dempsey will be restored to the starting line-up after playing the last 20 minutes in midweek Europa League action. Eddie Johnson will be hoping for a place on the bench for the Cottagers on Sunday.

Dickson Etuhu and Diomansy Kamara will both miss the game with knee injuries and Andy Johnson is suffering from a groin strain which required surgery earlier in the week.

Craig Gordon will not play again until March due to a wrist injury and Lee Cattermole's MCL injury will keep him out until late December. There is some hope that Kenwyne Jones may play after recovering from a thigh injury.

Fulham will be looking to continue their good home results, while Sunderland will hope to improve on their poor away record.

Sheffield Wednesday - Reading

Frank Simek will look to play the whole 90 minutes, and will hope to have an easier game than lat weekend when free-scoring West Bromwich Albion came to town.

Tommy Miller will miss the game with a hamstring injury, and Francis Jeffers has an ankle injury. Loan signees Tom Soares and Warren Feeney have had the chance to train with their new teammates, and may start this week.

Shane Long begins a three games suspension after being sent off at Derby County last weekend. Former Owls favorite Brian Howard will also be missing for the Royals after fracturing his jaw at Derby.

Both teams are surprisingly close to the relegation zone after being among the teams expected to be in the hunt for promotion before the season began.

Crewe Alexandra - Lincoln City

Eric Lichaj will continue his loan period with Lincoln City with another start as City look to avoid an eight-game run without a win in League Two.

Sergio Torres and Lenell John-Lewis will miss the game with ankle injuries, as will Paul Green with a hip injury and Paul Connor with a knee problem. Joe Heath should be fit after a hip injury and Adam Watts should have recovered from a knee injury.

Crewe will be without Shaun Miller with a groin strain, Steve Schumacher has a calf injury and James Bailey has a lower abdominal muscle strain.

Lincoln need the win , and will be lifted by a good performance in midweek, whilst Alexandra come off the back of a good 3-2 away win at Chesterfield.

Notes

Jay DeMerit is out of the Watford visit to first ranked Newcastle United due to an eye injury.

Zak Whitbread is also unavailable because of injury as Millwall travel to Hartlepool United.

Jon-Paul Pittman will hope to start as Wycombe Wanderers host Stockport County after returning from injury.

Jemal Johnson looks to return from injury as Milton Keynes Dons entertain Yeovil Town.

Ian Joyce may earn a place on the bench for Southend United as they go to second ranked Charlton Athletic.

Mike Grella will be on the bench as Leeds United entertain near neighbors Huddersfield Town.

Seb Harris is expected to be among the substitutes as Northampton Town visit Cheltenham Town.