JOHN KRETLOW - Friday, March 15, 2013
Brad Guzan's Aston Villa play Queens Park Rangers in a huge drop zone clash, while Geoff Cameron, Brek Shea, and Stoke City look for a win against West Bromwich Albion.
Aston Villa - Queens Park Rangers
Brad Guzan and Aston Villa welcome Queens Park Rangers to Villa Park in a crucial relegation battle.
Guzan will start at goal for the Villains, while Eric Lichaj hopes to make the game-day roster.
Villa is coming off a huge win over Reading last week, where the American ‘keeper was pivotal. That result boosted them out of the drop zone for the moment, but they will need another positive result on Saturday. They are currently three points above the bottom three.
QPR has been at the bottom of the Premier League standings for some time, but the London side has mustered two straight wins and hoping to continue that momentum with a victory this weekend. Rangers are two points from safety.
Fabian Delph will miss for the home team because of suspension.
Stoke City - West Bromwich Albion
Geoff Cameron, Brek Shea, and Stoke City look to end their skid with a win against West Bromwich Albion at the Britannia Stadium.
Cameron is likely to feature once again, while Shea hopes to get some playing time for the Potters.
Stoke goes into Saturday's matchup having only won one game in their last eight. Their position in the standings has plummeted to eleventh now and are just nine points above the drop zone.
West Brom is in eighth place, but has a strong ten point lead over the Potters. They have won three out of their last four games and trail Arsenal by just four points for a Europa League spot.
Robert Huth will miss due to suspension for Stoke.
Middlesbrough - Birmingham City
Jonathan Spector and Birmingham City take the road to play Seb Hines and Middlesbrough.
Will Packwood is a long term injury concern and will miss for the Blues.
Boro goes into Saturday's match looking to reverse their current skid. They have won just once in their last seven games in all competitions, and have seen their place in the standings drop to ninth place. Luckily for them, they are just three points from a playoff spot and will be gunning for the victory this weekend.
The Blues are in 14th place and have played inconsistent soccer lately. Although they have lost just once in their last five games, Birmingham has notched just two wins in that span.
Leyton Orient - Carlisle United
Frank Simek and Carlisle United take on a high flying Leyton Orient side on the road in League One action.
Simek is a regular starter for the Cumbrians and should be in the lineup this weekend.
Carlisle is coming off a 2-0 win over Brentford last week and hope for another three points on Saturday. The Cumbrians are in 17th place and still a relatively safe nine points above the bottom three.
Orient is unbeaten in their last five games, including three wins in that span. They are in tenth place and six points below the last playoff spot.
Tim Howard is out injured and will not feature in Everton's game against Manchester City.
Clint Dempsey hopes to regain fitness after injury and feature in Tottenham's game with Fulham.
Stuart Holden and Tim Ream hope to see the field in Bolton's match with Ipswich Town.
Conor Doyle's Derby County take on Zak Whitbread and Leicester City.
Mike Grella and Scunthorpe United take on Notts County.
Jon Paul Pittman's Oxford United play Chesterfield in League Two action