ANDREW VORCE - Friday, March 26, 2010
Marcus Hahnemann and Tim Howard go head to head in goal while Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey also square off as two Premier League all-Yank games come your way in English action.
Wolverhampton - Everton
Marcus Hahnemann and Tim Howard will pit their wits against each other as the battle of the American keepers takes center stage.
Wolves are off the back of a huge morale boosting win over West Ham, netting three times before giving up a very late consolation goal. Mick McCarthy will likely keep the same starting line up, while David Edwards may push his was back into the squad. Michael Kightly is definitely out, suffering from an ankle injury.
Tim Howard picked up a knock in Everton's 2-0 win over of Manchester City and will be looking for three more points on their journeys. The Toffees are still three points behind Liverpool and Aston Villa, but the potential return of Victor Anichebe should lift the squad. Phillippe Senderos could also be a possibility, while Marouane Fellaini is out for the season with an ankle injury.
Chelsea - Aston Villa
Brad Friedel and Aston Villa will look to take a major leap towards fourth place as Chelsea plays host at Stamford Bridge.
Aston Villa have continuously dropped points game after game in their last few outings, but a win over Chelsea could see them right back on track. Gabriel Agbonlahor might slot back in after shaking off an ankle injury, the same one keeping Nigel Reo-Coker out until April. Emile Heskey has been sidelined with a calf injury, and will not take part.
Chelsea are fighting for their first Premier League title in four years, but injuries have set the London club back. Ricardo Carvalho has joined the sidelines with an ankle injury, while Branislav Ivanovic tore ligaments in his knee and is out for a month. Michael Ballack and Henrique Hilario are both injury concerns, though Petr Cech has returned to first team action.
Ashley Cole will look to be back at the end of April, while Michael Essien has suffered another setback in his knee injury. Jose Bosingwa is the last Blue's player out, suffering from a knee injury keeping him out until July. Chelsea are however fresh off of a 5-0 thumping of Portsmouth, moving them level on goal difference with Manchester United.
Hull - Fulham
Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey look to secure points for their clubs, with Hull having the added pressure of trying to escape the relegation zone before the end of the season.
Both Americans are likely to feature from the bench, with both coming off injuries. Dempsey was sidelined for two months with a knee problem, while Altidore was left out of the lineup last week after picking up a hamstring injury.
Altidore could be joined by Liam Cooper and Stephen Hunt on the sidelines, but Anthony Gardner is still a few weeks out with his ankle injury. Kamil Zayatte is out until late April with a knee injury, also keeping Ian Ashbee and Amir Zaki out.
Fulham are sitting pretty in the top half of the Premier League, enjoying a rich vein of goal scoring talent. David Elm will look to shake off a virus to make the bench, while John Pantsil is out until early April with a PCL tear. Andy Johnson is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.
West Ham - Stoke City
Jonathan Spector will look to make a start after James Tomkins' horrible game against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Spector was a 46th minute sub for West Ham after Tomkins' gifted Wolves the opener, with the American seeing the entire second half of action. Heirita Ilunga and Daniel Gabbidon could push for inclusions, but Luis Boa Morte and Zavon Hines are definitely out of the squad.
Stoke City could see Ryan Shawcross and Salif Diao back in the squad, but midfielder Dean Whitehead will be forced to watch from home as he was ejected in Stoke's 2-1 loss at home to Tottenham. James Beattie is out until May with a knee injury.
Watford - Middlesbrough
Jay Demerit and Watford host Middlesbrough this Saturday, as the Hornets try to get on track and continue their relegation fight.
Watford lost a crucial midweek game against fellow relegation rivals Sheffield Wednesday. The Hornets have now only won one game in their last eight and are currently only three points above the relegation zone.
Demerit was a game-time decision against Middlesbrough in the midweek, but started and played the whole 90 minutes despite a nagging back injury. He is expected to start for Watford this Saturday.
Middlesbrough won their midweek game versus Preston North End and kept their slim play-off hopes alive. They are currently ninth in the standings and six points from that last playoff spot.
Watford should be without Arsenal loanee Henri Lansbury due to a hip injury.
Middlesbrough will miss Tony McMahon because of a stress fracture in his foot, Seb Hines because of ankle and knee injuries, and Matthew Bates due to his cruciate ligament injury.
Sheffield Wednesday - Coventry City
Frank Simek and Sheffield Wednesday hope to stay out of the relegation zone as they take on Coventry City this Saturday.
Sheffield Wednesday come off a huge win in the midweek against Watford and hope to build off of that win against Coventry City. The Owls are four points clear of the relegation zone.
Simek did not play in the midweek game and has not featured since March 6th. The American hopes for playing time this week, but should be on the bench.
Coventry City is coming off a midweek loss and will hope to bounce back with a positive result this Saturday against Sheffield Wednesday. They are twelfth in the standings and only have a faint chance at the playoffs.
The Sky Blues look to be without Michael McIndoe because of a back and hip injury. Defenders Ben Turner, Issac Osbourne and Jordan Clark are also all out with long-term injuries.
The Owls' Tommy Miller was injured against Watford this week and may be out on Saturday. Jermaine Johnson is nursing a hamstring injury and will probably not feature.
Plymouth Argyle - Blackpool
Plymouth Argyle and Kenny Cooper continue their relegation fight against Blackpool this weekend.
The Pilgrims got a huge win against Ipswich Town this midweek and hope to build some momentum and win this Saturday. Plymouth are in the relegation zone but a win could get them very close to safety.
Cooper did not feature in the Pilgrims win against Ipswich Town and has not appeared of late for Plymouth. The American will hope for playing time off the bench this weekend.
Blackpool are seventh in the standings and five points from a playoff spot. They will hope to continue their good run after an emphatic midweek win against Swansea City.
The Seasiders will be without Neal Eardley who has a torn hamstring, and Hameur Bouazza who is nursing a groin injury.
The Pilgrims' Kari Arnason has a hip injury, Richard Eckersley is suffering from ankle trouble, and Craig Noone has an injured knee meaning they all should be out for this game.
Wycombe Wanderers - Colchester United
Jon-Paul Pittman and the Wycombe Wanderers take on Colchester United this Saturday.
Wycombe was only minutes away from a crucial win last weekend, but a late Exeter City equalizer was a blow to the Chairboys hopes of staying in League One. They are now deep in the relegation zone and will need to maximize their points in order to reach safety.
Pittman made an 83rd minute cameo for Wycombe and has had a steady pattern of appearances for the Chairboys. The American could get some playing time against Colchester albeit off the bench.
This game is critical for Colchester United, as they hold on to the last play-off spot in the League One standings. They hold a three-point lead over Huddersfield Town and will need to win in order to keep their spot.
Wycombe could be without defender Leon Johnson who is recovering from a hip injury. Lewwis Spence and Ian Westlake are nursing knee injuries. They all missed last weekend's loss against Exeter City.
Colchester United could miss Kayode Odejayi because of an ankle injury, while Paul Reid is likely out due to a back problem.
Stuart Holden's Bolton take on Manchester United, however the American is still sidelined as he recovers from a leg fracture.
Devann Yao should not feature for Ipswich Town against Swansea Town.
Zack Whitebread of Norwich City and Mike Grella of Leeds United do not look to take part in their teams' games against each other this weekend.
Jemal Johnson looks still to be out injured as Stockport County play Millwall.
Seb Harris and Northampton Town take on Lincoln City, with the American striker looking to get minutes from the bench.