Football: FA Cup Third Round team news

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Arsenal v Port Vale

David Platt and Lee Dixon miss today's match through injury. Platt came through a light training session yesterday, but will still miss the tie due to the groin strain he picked up in Arsenal's 2-1 win over Leicester on Boxing Day. Dixon has also strained his groin, in the north London derby last Sunday. Initially the injury was not thought to be serious, but further examination revealed that the right-back has no chance of playing. Gilles Grimandi is likely to deputise. Port Vale manager John Rudge will keep Arsenal waiting before naming his side, who have lost six consecutive League matches. Neil Aspin, Dean Glover and Matt Carragher all came through a practice match this week. Mark Snijders is favourite to partner Andy Hill at centre-back.

Barnsley v Bolton

Barnsley do not expect to make any changes for today from the side that drew 2-2 with Bolton on Boxing Day. Barnsley manager Danny Wilson has no injury problems and a fully fit squad except for long-term problems with centre back Steve Davis and reserve keeper Tony Bullock. Bolton have Alan Thompson back in contention for today and he is likely to start, but striker Dean Holdsworth is doubtful with a leg injury. Peter Beardsley is almost certain to partner Nathan Blake up front. Icelandic striker Arnar Gunnlaugsson has had eight stitches in a head wound but is fit and available to play. Defender Gerry Taggart is ruled out with a groin strain. Goalkeeper Keith Branagan is still suffering with his groin and reserve keeper Gavin Ward takes over again.

Blackburn v Wigan

Patrick Valery returns to the Blackburn side today after full-back Gary Croft was ruled out yesterday by a back injury. Scottish internationals Colin Hendry and Kevin Gallacher passed fit after injury scares, so Roy Hodgson seems likely to keep faith with the team who drew with Crystal Palace last Sunday, aside from Valery replacing Croft. Billy McKinlay is still missing. He is serving his final match of a two-game suspension. Wigan striker Graeme Jones is back in the squad after suspension. Club physio Simon Farnworth is also included as cover for goalkeeper Roy Carroll. Regular deputy Lee Butler is serving a one-match ban.

Charlton v Nottm Forest

Charlton welcome back Matt Holmes into the squad to face Forest. The midfielder has missed three games with a knee ligament injury. Charlton are the First Division's top scorers with 46 goals, and in fourth place, are not far behind Forest. They may recall Mark Bright. Nottingham Forest manager Dave Bassett has injury doubts over four key players. Leading scorer Pierre van Hooijdonk (groin), winger Steve Stone (knee), Andy Johnson (ankle) and Scottish international Scot Gemmill (rib) are all causing Bassett concern. He is already resigned to being without Ian Woan, who suffered a thigh injury in last Sunday's win at Manchester City. Thierry Bonalair is expected to replace him.

Cheltenham v Reading

Cheltenham, in the third round for the first time in 64 years, lost their first game in 27 matches on Thursday to Yeovil, but should start with 40-year old Clive Walker, the former Sunderland League Cup finalist and inspiration to non-League Woking.With Phil Parkinson still out through suspension, Reading are expected to play with the side which drew 1-1 at QPR last Sunday.

C Palace v Scunthorpe

Marc Edworthy returns for Palace after suspension. Bruce Dyer will possibly feature after recovering from the ankle injury, but Neil Shipperley is extremely doubtful with a groin strain and Attilio Lombardo and Michele Padovano are out. Scunthorpe defender Michael Walsh, stretchered off against Notts County on Boxing Day with badly bruised ribs, may start. Lee Marshall (knee) is out, while, defender Sean McAuley is almost certain to return and partner Ross Wilcox, who was sent off at the Deva Stadium. Goalkeeper Tom Evans, who was at Palace last season for a short spell, will also be on the bench.

Derby v Southampton

Derby's Dean Sturridge misses today's match through injury so Deon Burton comes in up front. Jacob Laursen is also on the casualty list and will not play. Igor Stimac returns at the back. Robbie Kozluk replaces the suspended Stefano Eranio. Egil Ostenstad is likely to be on the bench for Southampton. Kevin Davies was recalled in place of Ostenstad against Chelsea on Monday and is set to keep his place alongside David Hirst in attack after scoring the winner. Saints have slight injury doubts about defender Claus Lundekvam and midfielder Carlton Palmer.

Leeds v Oxford

Leeds are without David Robertson (suspended) and Portuguese midfielder Bruno Ribeiro (knee) but manager George Graham has Gary Kelly and Alf- Inge Haland available after suspension. Defender Ian Harte is included in the squad. Oxford's new manager Malcolm Crosby is likely to name an unchanged team as his First Division underdogs visit Elland Road. Striker Nicky Banger has failed to recover from a groin injury so Crosby will probably stick to the team which drew 1-1 with Sunderland. Crosby's last run in the FA Cup as a manager took him all the way to Wembley with Sunderland in 1992.

Leicester v Northampton

Leicester could be without captain Steve Walsh, who is recovering from a hamstring injury but Ian Marshall should be back in the side after recovering from a hernia operation. Northampton manager Ian Atkins will wait for late fitness tests on Roy Hunter (groin), Colin Hill (groin), Ray Warburton (ankle) and Charlie Bishop (ankle) before naming his team. Atkins expects all four to be fit for his side, who needed a penalty shoot-out to beat off non-League Basingstoke in the second round, but are currently third in the Second Division.

Liverpool v Coventry

Liverpool will field an unchanged side. The only change Roy Evans has had to make to the side during their winning run of four straight League matches has been the return of Paul Ince in place of Jamie Carragher after suspension and injury. David James holds his place in goal, leaving American Brad Friedel on the bench for the third game in succession. Paul Williams returns for Coventry after suspension. Despite having the worst disciplinary record in the Premiership - one sending off and nine yellow cards - his influence has been missed, with Coventry securing just one win during his absences.

Portsmouth v Aston Villa

Brian Little will be boosted by the return of Stan Collymore, Gareth Southgate and Julian Joachim, who have all resumed training after illness caused them to miss last Sunday's 1-1 draw at Leeds. Defender Adrian Whitbread is expected to recover from injury in time to captain struggling Portsmouth. Whitbread has been forced to miss the last three games with a hip injury but is set to return with David Waterman expected to make way. Midfielder David Hillier is still recovering from a back injury while central defender Russell Perrett is still struggling to overcome a knee problem.

Swindon v Stevenage

Swindon will be without on-loan Liverpool midfielder David Thompson, who is cup tied. Kevin Watson and Lee Collins are in contention to replace him in midfield. Veteran defender Brian Borrows is out with a knee ligament injury and French midfielder Philippe Cuervo is still recovering from surgery on a hip. Former Wycombe midfielder Simon Stapleton looks to have played himself into Stevenage's line up for today. He impressed in the New Year's Day win over Rushden and Diamonds - Stevenage's first league win in six games. Stapleton joined the Hertfordshire team from Rushden three weeks ago, and should feature.

Watford v Sheff Wednesday

Watford manager Graham Taylor is hoping to complete an FA Cup double against Ron Atkinson 16 years after his Watford side beat Atkinson's Manchester United in the competition. Watford, who have led the Second Division since the start of the season, have no significant injury worries. Sheffield Wednesday will have top scorer Paolo Di Canio back from a two-match ban. Norwegian midfielder Petter Rudi is doubtful with a back strain.

West Ham v Emley

French international goalkeeper Bernard Lama will be on the substitutes' bench for West Ham after Craig Forrest's recent form has kept him in the side. Captain Steve Lomas is suspended, while Eyal Berkovic is fit after a knee injury. John Moncur faces a fitness test on a hamstring strain. Emley, who have said today's match is their World Cup final, are likely to field the same side that won through to this match, with policeman Neil Lacey guarding the defence and postman Glynn Hurst hoping to deliver an upset in attack.

Winger John Bailey is poised for a recall to Bournemouth's side for their match against Huddersfield at Dean Court. Bailey has missed the last two matches through suspension but is set to return to the right side of midfield. Former Southampton player Christer Warren is likely to be moved up from midfield to partner Steve Fletcher in attack with on-loan Charlton striker Steve Jones cup tied.

Ipswich have England Under-21 striker James Scowcroft back after a three- match ban for their game at Bristol Rovers. Jason Cundy is still suspended.

Cardiff City's hopes of including former Bristol City striker Kevin Nugent in their squad for their game against Oldham at Ninian Park have been dashed due to an ankle injury. Oldham could be without four regular first team players. Former Tranmere defender Shaun Garnett is suspended while Neil Thompson is Cup-tied. Australian defender Doug Hodgson and Lee Sinnott are both struggling to overcome injury.

Birmingham will check on the fitness of striker Paul Devlin after making the short trip to take on First Division rivals Crewe. Devlin has been struggling with a virus that has forced him out of the squad for City's last two games. Birmingham's manager Trevor Francis is trying to turn the loan move of the Southampton left-back Simon Charlton into a permanent pounds 250,000 deal as loan players are ineligible for FA Cup ties. Michael Johnson is on alert to take over from Charlton. Crewe record signing Dave Walton is back after a six-week lay-off with damaged ankle ligaments. He is likely to be Dario Gradi's only change from the team that drew at Bury on Sunday.

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Finnish international striker Mixu Paatelainen is standing by to start his first game for more than two months in the game with Darlington at Feethams. Teenage forward Robbie Keane will be available after injury. Experienced Darlington striker Carl Shutt is almost certain to be unfit. The 36-year-old former Leeds player is struggling to recover from the thigh strain that has kept him out for a month. Andy Crosby and Jason Devos are missing from the Quakers' defence because of bans and the on-loan pair Lawrence Davies and Craig Midgley also miss out.

Norwich captain Matt Jackson is ruled out of the tie at Grimsby with an ankle injury. Winger Adrian Forbes, who picked up a knock on the thigh against Portsmouth in midweek, is also out which may mean Daryl Sutch being pushed straight back into action after a five match absence with a thigh strain. Fit-again defender Craig Fleming, who has suffered a series of injury setbacks since his close season move from Oldham, looks set to deputise for Jackson.

Captain Wayne Jacobs is set to return to Bradford's team for the game at Manchester City. Defender Darren Moore, who has missed the last three matches with a hamstring injury, is still unfit which means that 18-year- old Andrew O'Brien continues to deputise. Manchester City manager Frank Clark will hope his side can start a Cup run against Bradford which could lift the gloom hanging over Maine Road. There are doubts over the fitness of Wales defender Kit Symons, still recovering from a hamstring injury, and Tony Vaughan, who suffered concussion during Sunday's 3-2 defeat by Nottingham Forest.

Walsall goalkeeper James Walker is doubtful for the game at Peterborough.. He was kicked on the head in last week's Second Division game at Northampton. If he doesn't make it 19-year-old Danny Naisbitt will make his debut. Midfielder Gary Porter has recovered from a knock in time to play and the Saddlers could recall skipper Derek Mountfield to the defence.

Stockport captain Mike Flynn misses the return to his old club as County travel to Preston. Flynn limped out of last Sunday's league defeat at Middlesbrough and his side are also in danger of losing record signing Paul Cook. The former Wolves midfielder will undergo a late fitness test. Top scorer Lee Ashcroft could make a welcome return to the Preston North End starting line-up. The former West Brom forward has missed Prestons's last five games with a hamstring strain, but he resumed full training this week. Manager Gary Peters, whose offer to resign was turned down by the Preston board earlier this week, has fitness worries over several players, but has refused to name the men in question.

Queen's Park Rangers will be without defender George Kulcsar for the visit of Middlesbrough to Loftus Road. The Australian will be out of action for six weeks after badly twisting his knee and ankle. Gavin Peacock (knee) and Trevor Sinclair (chest) were doubtful, but both are expected to play. Middlesbrough are without Gianluca Festa, so Steve Vickers returns. Three of Boro's youth team graduates - Andy Campbell, Steve Baker and Craig Harrison - are also included in the 17-man squad.

Sheffield United manager Nigel Spackman faces a defensive crisis for the game against Bury with David Holdsworth, Paul McGrath and Michael Vonk are all out injured. Bury manager Stan Ternent will have to juggle with his squad. Six first teamers are out of action - Paul Butler and Peter Swan (suspended), Tony Ellis (cup-tied) and Dean West, Rob Matthews and David Pugh (injured).

West Bromwich Albion midfielder Ian Hamilton returns against Stoke at the Hawthorns, while Stoke manager Chic Bates is expected to name an unchanged team. Bates is likely to keep faith with the team which drew at the Hawthorns in the league on Sunday with Marco Gabbiadini again on the bench alongside fit again Ray Wallace.

Tomorrow

Chelsea v Man Utd

Ruud Gullit will resist the temptation to start with himself in tomorrow's line-up, but he is likely to be on the bench. The Cup holders are without the suspended Dennis Wise and Frank Sinclair. Frank Leboeuf returns at the back after missing Monday's 1-0 defeat at Southampton through flu, with Steve Clarke set to move across to right-back. Paul Hughes or Mark Nicholls seem set to fill Wise's midfield spot, while Gullit will pair former Red Mark Hughes and Gianfranco Zola. Peter Schmeichel may be fit for the visitors, but a decision will not be made until the last moment. Kevin Pilkington is on standby to continue in goal. Denis Irwin returns after a two-month absence with his knee ligament injury and he will slot in at left-back in place of the suspended Phil Neville. Ronny Johnsen is struggling with a thigh injury.

Everton v Newcastle

Danny Williamson is back in contention for Everton. Williamson has trained for the past two days after recovering from a hamstring problem. But Everton manager Howard Kendall must manage without Craig Short, who has failed to shrug off a hamstring injury in time. Captain Gary Speed, the subject of failed transfer bids from Newcastle and Sheffield Wednesday this week, is still out. Darren Peacock seems certain to return for Newcastle after injury, but Steve Howey (leg injury) and Belgian Philippe Albert (suspension) are unavailable. Newcastle will also have to do without suspended England midfielder David Batty and defender Warren Barton, who has picked up a new hamstring injury.

Hereford v Tranmere

Hereford will be without cup tied striker Richard Leadbeater and goalkeeper Andy Quy. Leadbeater, who scored a hat-trick in Hereford's 4-1 win at Kidderminster Harriers on New Year's Day, will be replaced by either Tony Agana or James McCue.Tranmere striker Gary Jones is the only doubt for Rovers as the First Division club look to avoid the potential banana skin of going out to non-League opposition. Jones picked up an ankle injury in a training match so player-manager John Aldridge may put himself on the substitutes' bench as standby for the noon kick-off. Otherwise Tranmere are likely to start with the side which drew at Birmingham in the league.

Wimbledon v Wrexham

Wimbledon will be looking to recover from the 2-1 home defeat against West Ham last weekend as they take on Second Division Wrexham. Wrexham will go into the game without captain Tony Humes. Humes broke a bone in his right arm against Wigan on Boxing Day and will be out for at least a month. The Welsh side, who reached the quarter-finals last season, may also be without experienced midfielder Peter Ward who faces a late fitness test after limping off with an ankle injury at Blackpool last week.

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