ANDREW VORCE - Friday, April 1, 2011
It will be a battle of yanks goalkeepers at Goodison Park this weekend as Tim Howard's Everton hosts Brad Friedel's Aston Villa while Jermaine Jones and Blackburn look to upset Arsenal.
Everton - Aston Villa
Michael Bradley will look to join Brad Friedel on the field for Aston Villa who take on Tim Howard's Everton at Goodison Park.
Everton have still yet to put a consistent run together and the home team will be without Jack Rodwell who has been out of the fold after the youngster has been sidelined with an ankle injury.
Striker Louis Saha is sidelined with an ankle injury, while Mikel Arteta and Seamus Coleman will be monitored until Saturday while Marounne Fellaini is out for the season.
Aston Villa will have their eyes down the standings as three points separates last place from 13th place. Villa has only won once in their last six, losing in their last outing to Wolves. Richard Dunne is struggling with a shoulder injury while Luke young is struggling with a knee injury.
Arsenal - Blackburn
Jermaine Jones looks set to start in the center of Blackburn's midfield with an eye on stopping Arsenal's play.
Typically defensive Blackburn only have the result to worry about where as Arsenal have plenty of bodies on the sidelines due to injury.
Cesc Fabregas might be risked after suffering a hamstring injury while Theo Walcott should also return. Luis Fabianski and Wojciech Szczesny are both out of commission with Thomas Vermaelen joins Johan Djourou on the sidelines as well.
Blackburn will be monitoring the fitness of three players ahead of the trip to Emirites with Keith Andrews out with a groin strain. Vince Grella has been sidelined with an achilles injury while David Dunn is out with a hip and thigh injury.
Fulham - Blackpool
Clint Dempsey returns to club duty after a stand out performance for the US last week, now facing Blackpool.
Blackpool will be looking to stop the rot with an away victory while Fulham will be looking to give their home faithful something to cheer for.
Fulham is without Aaron Hughes and Diomansy Kamara, while Steve Sidwell is close to a return. Phillippe Senderos continues to be sidelined with a calf injury.
Blackpool will attack from the off in search of all three points but will play one more game without Matthew Gilks. Paul Rachubka joins Craig Basham on the sidelines, while Billy Clarke is out until May with an ACL knee injury.
Norwich City Scunthorpe
Zak Whitbread and Norwich City take on Scunthorpe in Championship play.
Whitbread has featured regularly for the Canaries and should be in the starting lineup this weekend.
Norwich City are in second place but only one point ahead of Swansea, making this weekend's game crucial.
The Canaries are coming off a tie to Hull City, but they will need three points to keep their automatic promotion spot.
They will be without Aaron Wilbraham who is having season ending back surgery.
Scunthorpe are currently deep in the relegation zone and will need three points to start their climb to safety.
They look to be without Lee Miller and Mark Duffy for the crucial game.
Leeds United Nottingham Forest
Eric Lichaj and Leeds United play Nottingham Forest in a crucial Championship battle.
Lichaj is coming off national team duty but should feature like he has regularly for Leeds.
United are currently in fifth place and in a playoff spot. Nottingham Forest only trail them by one point, giving this game high stakes.
Leeds will be without the services of Jonny Howson who is suffering from a hamstring injury.
Forest's Paul Konchesky is doubtful to feature due to a hamstring problem. Guy Moussi, American striker Robbie Findley, Kelvin Wilson, and Dexter Blackstock are all long term injury problems.
Hull City Millwall
Brad Guzan and Hull City host Millwall in Championship play this weekend.
Guzan is a regular starter for the Tigers and should feature again this Saturday.
Hull are only four points from the last playoff spot and are looking for the win to close between them and possible promotion.
The Tigers will be without Nick Barmby who suffered a calf injury last week and will not be fit for the game.
Millwall are only two points from the Tigers and would love to jump them in the standings.
They will be without Alan Dunne who is serving a two game suspension.
Preston North End Swansea
Eddie Johnson and Preston North End take on Swansea this Saturday.
Johnson has featured regularly since arriving on loan for North End and should see time against Swansea.
Preston are in last place and staring at relegation. A win this weekend though could garner some momentum and give their fans something to cheer about.
North End's Leon Cort and Chris Brown are doubtful to play due to injuries.
Swansea are only one point from an automatic promotion spot and will go for the win to jump Norwich City who are above them in the Championship standings.
They come into the game without significant injury problems.
Swindon Town Hartlepool
Mike Grella and Swindon Town take on Hartlepool in a League One battle.
Since arriving on loan, Grella has featured regularly for Swindon. He should start for them this weekend.
Town will need the three points to start climbing themselves out of the relegation zone.
Swindon's Vincent Pericard and Milan Misun are long term injury problems.
Hartlepool have lost three games straight and will be motivated to end their skid.
James Brown and Neil Austin will miss due to injuries for Hartlepool.
Jonathan Spector will look to make an appearance from the bench as West Ham take on Manchester United at home.
Stuart Holden is out for the season with a knee injury as Bolton take on Birmingham.
Marcus Hahnemann will be on the bench for Wolverhampton Wanderers who travel to Newcastle.
Jon-Paul Pittman is doubtful to feature for Wycombe's game against Stockport due to a strained muscle sustained in the midweek.