PREVIEW: WEEKEND ENGLISH ACTION
Jonathan Spector and Tim Howard face off while Brad Friedel and Villa take on Manchester City and Stuart Holden's Bolton face off against Chelsea in a full weekend of English action.
Everton - West Ham
Jonathan Spector will hope to take the field against his countryman Tim Howard as West Ham travel to Everton.
The Hammers have eight players carrying injuries but should get some boosts for the weekend trip. Frederic Piquionne, Scott Parker and Lars Jacobsen could all be in the running, while Heirita Ilunga and Anthony Edgar are doubtful. Manuel Da Costa and Thomas Hitzlsperger are still sidelined while Peter Kurucz is out until May.
Everton only have two players out through injury but will be without Steven Pienaar who has secured a move to Tottenham this week. Louis Saha is out for a week with a thigh muscle strain while Ross Barkley is out until March with a broken leg.
Fulham - Stoke
Clint Dempsey and Fulham could use a home victory over Stoke City who sit seven points above the home team.
Fulham are still without the injured Bobby Zamora who is sidelined for a few more weeks with his broken leg. Philippe Senderos will look to make his long awaited return at the same time as Zamora, eyeing the middle of February for a first team selection.
Stoke could be without Eidur Gudjohnsen who is suffering from a neck injury while Mamadibe is suffering from a calf injury and will be in a race against time to be fit enough for the bench. Stoke's newest signing John Carew will look to get straight to work after being out of sorts at Aston Villa and will hope to start his loan spell out on the right foot.
Aston Villa - Manchester City
Brad Friedel will need to be on point as Aston Villa welcome Manchester City to Villa Park.
Villa will be in their first game without the out of favor John Carew, but will have England international Darren Bent available for selection. The newest signing will be slated to start for Villa who have slipped into 17th position, while City are tied with Manchester United for first, only losing out on goal difference. Stephen Ireland and Andreas Weimann areboth sidelined for the game.
American Eric Lichaj will likely not take part of the game for Villa since he fell out of favor with head coach Gerard Houllier
City will be without Micah Richards and Mario Balotelli for the trip as the pair are out with a back and knee injury, respectively. Influential Italian Balotelli is sidelined until March with his knee injury. Edin Dzeko will look to start in his stead and will look to get back to action after missing Cities last outing.
Bolton Wanders - Chelsea
Stuart Holden and Bolton will look to put a huge dent in Chelsea's title dreams with a home win over the holders.
Owen Coyle will take delight in the fact that John Terry and Frank Lampard look to both be sidelined through injury and will be unavailable for selection. Yuri Zhirkov is also a doubt with a calf muscle strain, while Alex and Yossi Benayoun are both out of contention.
Bolton have six players carrying injury though half of them might push through their injuries to be available for selection. Ivan Klasnic and Ricardo Gardner are both doubtful, while Joey O'Brien, Jlloyd Samuel, and Gretar Steinsson are carrying injuries. Sean Davis is out for another week with a knee injury. David Wheater has joined Wanderers from Middlesbrough to help push for a European spot.
Norwich City – Sheffield United
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City take on Sheffield United in Championship play.
Whitbread started and went the full ninety minutes last week for Norwich, and is likely to be in the starting eleven once again.
Norwich City still hold a comfortable position near the top of the standings, but will need to continue winning in order to stay there. A win this weekend could get them in second place.
Elliot Ward has been nursing a calf injury and is questionable for the Canaries, while Andrew Surman could be out with a knee problem.
Sheffieuld United are currently in a relegation zone fight and desperately need the points this weekend. They are coming off a tie last week against Coventry.
Lee Williamson came off of their last game injured and will be questionable to play for Sheffield.
Hull City – Reading
Brad Guzan and Hull City play Reading this weekend in league play.
Guzan started again last week and should again feature as the starting goalie for the Tigers.
Hull are currently in the middle of the standings and would love to start a push towards a playoff spot this weekend.
Paul McShane hopes to come back from a shoulder injury but is questionable, while tom Cairney could also miss as well.
Reading are currently on the outside looking in on a playoff spot, but are only two points from being in that prestigious group. They are carrying a two game league winning streak and hope to make it three on Saturday.
They left their last game unscathed and should field their same lineup.
Carlisle United – Notts County
Frank Simek and Carlisle United take on Notts County in League One play.
Simek is a regular starter for the Cumbrians and should again feature this weekend.
Carlisle are coming off two 4-0 wins and will look to keep that momentum going against the Magpies.
Sean McDaid, Tony Kane and Danny Livesey are all out long-term for Carlisle
Notts County are currently only one point from the Cumbrians in the standings and hope to jump them this weekend with three points.
Lee Hughes looks to miss for Notts County with a calf problem while Ben Burgess is doubtful to play because of a hamstring injury. Liam Chilvers is sidelined with a knee problem.
Marcus Hahnemann will be battling for a starting position for Wolves who host Liverpool on Satuday.
Conor Doyle hopes to feature for Derby County as they take on Robbie Findley's new team Nottingham Forest.
Anton Peterlin and Plymouth take on Charlton in League One play.