ANDREW VORCE - Friday, December 10, 2010
Aston Villa, Everton, and Fulham could all take themselves out of misery with weekend wins in a full weekend of English action.
Aston Villa - West Brom
Brad Friedel and Aston Villa will be looking to get back to winning ways at home against West Brom.
Villa's injury concerns are slowly coming to an end, with Nigel Reo-Coker and Emile Heskey expected back soon. Steven Sidwel and Fabian Delph will both return within the next month, while Barry Bannan is out with a groin strain. Stiliyan Petrov and Andreas Weimann are both out until early February.
West Brom have a full squad, which will be needed to get a result at Villa Park. The Baggies heavy-handed win at Newcastle forced the eventual departure of Chris Hughton who left the club days after.
West Brom have won their last two Premier League games by a combined score of 7-2, beating Everton before their 3-1 result over Newcastle.
West Ham - Manchester City
Jonathan Spector will be pushing for more minutes as West Ham welcomes Manchester City to Upton Park.
Valon Behrami and Mark Noble could be declared healthy to make an appearance, while James Collison is out until the New Year with a knee injury. Manuel Da Costa and Thomas Hitzlsperger are both out until February, while Anthony Edgar and Patrick Kurucz are both out until May.
Manchester City could get the influential Kolo Toure back from injury after struggling with a calf muscle strain. Toure has been a standout player this season for the visitors, steadying the field of play. Emmannuel Adebayor is out with a calf injury and will be fighting for a spot on the bench.
Fulham - Sunderland
Clint Dempsey's Fulham will look to get their first win in their last six matches as they welcome Sunderland to Craven Cottage.
Last week Sunderland picked up all three points at West Ham, pushing them to seventh place, behind Stuart Holden's Bolton on goal difference.
If results go against Fulham, they could finish the weekend in the relegation zone. Mark Hughes could have Carlos Salcido and Moussa Dembele back, while Rafik Halliche could also make a return. Phillippe Senderos, Frank Stoor, and Bobby Zamora are all still out.
Sunderland top the Premier League's injury list with eight players out. Asomoah Gyan could miss out with a toe injury, while Craig Gordon is out with a hamstring injury. Trevor Carson and Andy Reid are both out injured. Titus Bramble, Fraizer Campbell, and Michael Turner are all out long term.
Everton - Wigan
Tim Howard and Everton need three points at home against Wigan to ease the pressure on the club.
A Wigan win would see them leapfrog the Liverpool based club, while a win for Everton could see them start making their climb up the ranks.
Everton have a generally healthy squad, with Leon Osman the only big miss who is out with an ankle injury. Everton's draw at Chelsea was a welcomed point, and a win this weekend could kick start Everton's season.
Wigan haven't won since beating West Brom 1-0 at home, but have picked up points against Liverpool and Stoke. Victor Moses is out until February with a dislocated shoulder, while James McCarthy is out until the end of January with an ankle injury.
Bolton - Blackburn
Stuart Holden should return for Bolton who are at home against Blackburn Rovers.
The US international has been sideliend with a thigh muscle strain, but should be the only Wanderer to make a return. Ricardo Gardner is out for another week, while Jlloyd Samuel continues his injury stint with Joey O'Brien. Sean Davis is out until early February with a knee injury.
Blackburn bounced back to beat Wolves 3-0 at home after being trounced by Manchester United at Old Trafford. It could have been a different story against Wolves who hit the woodwork three times in the opening stages. Rovers could have Vince Grella, Steven Nzonzi and Martin Olsson back, with only Keith Andrews out.
Carlisle United – Dagenham & Redbridge
After having their last league game cancelled due to the severe winter weather, Frank Simek and Mike Grella will try and help Carlisle United beat Dagenham & Redbridge this weekend.
Simek is a regular starter and should again play the full ninety minutes for the Cumbrians. Grella has enjoyed plenty of playing time since he arrived on loan and should again feature this Saturday.
The extra week off could help some players rest and get back on the field. Carlisle's Peter Murphy is suffering from a back injury and is questionable, while Danny Livesey has been out long term but is inching close to a comeback.
The Cumbrians are currently ninth in the standings but are in reasonable striking distance from the top and will need a win this weekend to keep up.
The Daggers are currently in the relegation zone and have lost three out of their last four League One games. Dag & Red will need to start maximizing their points if they want to avoid League Two play next season.
Dag & Red, also coming off a suspended game, are came away from their last league game unscathed and should field the same lineup with no new injuries reported.
Milton Keynes Dons – Notts County
Jemal Johnson and Milton Keynes Dons take on Notts County in a League One clash this weekend.
After last weekend's suspended game, MK Dons is hoping to start their climb to the top half of a cluttered standings. A win this weekend could go far for the Dons, especially since they are riding a two game league losing streak.
Johnson has featured regularly for MK Dons, though more often from the bench this season. The American should feature this weekend.
Dons look to be without Angelo Balanta who underwent ankle surgery last week.
Notts County are in the bottom half of the table and need to start winning games to assure League One play next season. They beat Swindon in their last league game and hope to keep that momentum going this Saturday.
The Magpies came off their last game unscathed and should field the same lineup.
Conor Doyle hopes to feature as Derby County take on Bristol City in the Championship.
Marcus Hahnemann will be battling for the starting keeper duties at Wolves after being benched for their last two outings, this newest game being at home against Birmingham.