ANDREW VORCE - Friday, December 17, 2010
Clint Dempsey and Fulham reunite with Roy Hodgeson in Liverpool while Tim Howard and Everton face a stern test when they travel to Manchester City in a full weekend of English action.
Sunderland - Bolton
Bolton's Stuart Holden will look to continue his good performances for the Wanderers who travel away to Sunderland.
Sunderland top the injury charts with seven players out. Three players are out with knee injuries, including Fraizer Campbell and Titus Bramble. Criag Gordon's return is doubtful, while Trevor Carson is likely to miss out.
Ricardo Gardner could return for Bolton after time on the sideline with a knee injury, which is also sidelining Sam Davis and Joey O'Brien. Jlloyd Samuel continues to be sidelined with a calf muscle strain and will continued to be sidelined.
Blackburn - West Ham
Jonathan Spector looks to continue on his new path in the center of midfield as West Ham United need a win away at Blackburn to lift up the club.
Blackburn could have a double boost through Vince Grella and Steve Nzonzi. Grella has been sidelined with a groin strain, while Nzonzi has been out with a hamstring injury. Keith Andrews is the only other Rovers player out, sidelined until the New Year with a groin strain.
West Ham have six players out through injury, with only Mark Noble eligible to make a return. James Collison will return in early January from his knee injury, while Manuel Da Costa and Thomas Hitzlsperger will return in February. Both Anthony Edgar and Peter Kurucz are out long term.
Wigan - Aston Villa
Brad Friedel and Aston Villa could distance themselves from their opposition with a weekend win away to Wigan.
Aston Villa could get two huge boosts if Gabriel Agbonlahor and Luke Young are declared healthy. Eric Lichaj got his first Premier League start in their last outing, but will likely be relegated to the bench if Young returns. Steve Sidwell will return before the New Year, while Fabian Delph, Stiliyan Petrov, and Andreas Weiman are out until late January and early February.
One of Wigan's standout players could return in Tom Cleverley, but Emmerson Boyce's return looks to be sidelined. Franco Di Santo will return over the Holiday program, while James McCarthy and Victor Moses look to return in late January and early February.
Liverpool - Fulham
Clint Dempsey and Fulham will spare no sympathy for their former coach's unfortunate position at Liverpool when the two parties reunite at Anfield.
Fulham haven't won in their last six games, having drawn three games and defeats to Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City.
The Cottagers could have Moussa Dembele back from his ankle injury, though Frank Stoor is still sidelined. Both Bobby Zamora and Phillippe senderos are due back in early february.
Liverpool haven't won since their 3-0 thumping of Aston Villa, losing 3-1 at Newcastle while being held to a goalless draw with FC Utrecht in the Europa League. Liverpool could have captain Steven Gerrard back after being sidelined with a hamstring injury, and could be joined by Daniel Agger. Both Jamie Carragher and Jay Spearing are out until the New Year.
Manchester City - Everton
Tim Howard will need to be on the top of his game when Everton travel to Manchester City.
City are unbeaten over their last six outings, having racked up 12 goals in five games, while only conceding four times. City's only injury concern is Emmanuel Adebayor who has been sidelined with a calf muscle strain and is highly expected to leave Eastlands in the January transfer window.
Everton would do well to pick up three points from third place City, having only picked up 18 points in 17 matches. Everton have a generally full squad with the exception of the injured Leon Osman. Tim Cahill has been instrumental in many of Everton's win's this season, and will need to be on point for Everton to get anything out of their trip.
Yeovil Town - Carlisle United
Carlisle's American duo of Frank Simek and Mike Grella will try to shake off last week's disappointing defeat when they visit Yeovil Town on Saturday.
Simek is set to take his regular spot in defense for the Cumbrians while Grella should either see some significant minutes off the bench or perhaps even start up front for head coach Greg Abbot.
Abbot's squad are coming off a desultory 0-2 home loss to Dagenham & Redbridge so a starting spot up front for the Duke University standout might be one of the changes the Carlisle boss decides to make.
This weekend's contest at Huish Park is a good opportunity for the Cumbrians to restore some confidence.
Yeovil sit dead last in the 24 team League One standings and coul be the remedy for a Carlisle squad that has only managed four points out of their last five matches.
Defenders Peter Murphy, Danny Livesey andTony Kane are all expected to miss for the guests while Yeovil will be without Paul Huntington, Adam Virgo and Stefan Stam.
MK Dons - Oldham Athletic
Jemal Johnson is expected to return to the MK Dons starting lineup when they host Oldham Athletic on Saturday.
Johnson missed last week's contest due to illness but appears to be recuperated and ready to take the field at Stadium: MK.
The match pits two teams that still have aspirations to make their way up the standings and squeeze into a promotion playoff position.
The Dons are currently 14th but with 24 points while Oldham sit seventh with 29 points.
MK Dons will be missing Angelo Balanta, Sam Baldock and Jude Stirling whom are all out however there is still a chance that defender Sean O'Hanlon will be given a thumbs-up to play on Saturday.
In addition to the aforementioned absences, strike Aaron Wilbraham will serve his one-match suspension after receiving a red card in last week's loss versus Notts County.
Oldham will have a full squad available.
Marcus Hahnemann will likely continue to be on the bench when Wolves face West Brom.
Zak Whitbread remains injured and will not be suiting up for Norwich City's tilt wil Coventry.
Conor Doyle will hope to see some minutes off the bench for Derby when they host Reading.
Jon-Paul Pittman remains out with a long-term injury and will not be available for Wycombe who visit Southend.