Football: Boxing Day guide to the Premiership

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Newcastle

v Leeds

Last season: 1-1

NEWCASTLE STRIKERS Alan Shearer and Duncan Ferguson stand a good chance of being fit enough to link up for the first time today. Shearer has suffered no negative reaction to his 35 minutes of action as a substitute during the 1-0 victory over Leicester last Saturday, while Ferguson (heavy flu) is back in training and expected to be in contention for this afternoon.

Leeds manager David O'Leary heads to with injury problems that are threatening to undermine the club's season. Centre-back Robert Molenaar has been ruled out until May or later with cruciate ligament damage, less than a month after fellow defender Martin Hiden suffered the same injury. Leeds' influential captain Lucas Radebe is also out with a twisted knee. There may be a return to St James' Park for midfielder David Batty just two weeks after his pounds 4.4m move to Elland Road. He sustained a cracked rib during his second debut for Leeds but trained on Thursday and said: "I never want to miss any match, and this one is a bit special. In the end it will be down to me to decide whether I'm fit enough to play."

NEWCASTLE UNITED (from): Given, Harper, Barton, Charvet, Howey, Dabizas, Hughes, Lee, Speed, Glass, Georgiadis, Solano, Hamann, Shearer, Ferguson, Andersson, Ketsbaia.

LEEDS UNITED (from): Martyn, Haaland, Wetherall, Wijnhard, Hasselbaink, Ribeiro, Bowyer, Hopkin, Granville, Halle, Kewell, Harte, Woodgate, McPhail, Smith, Jackson, Robinson.

Suspensions: None.

Referee: G Willard.

Sheff Wed v Leicester

Last season: 1-0

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY'S Danny Wilson will be without both his Italian strikers today. Paolo di Canio was expected to return from an 11-match suspension following his push on referee Paul Alcock, but is now AWOL in Italy, and in dispute with the Owls after they suspended him for two weeks without pay. Compatriot Benito Carbone is suspended. "Paolo has a decision to make but I don't know what that's going to be," Wilson said. "Whether he plays [ever again] for Sheffield Wednesday or not, I don't know. We will have to wait and see. It's a situation we could do without, but we are in it, so we just have to get on with it."

Martin O'Neill is trying to cope with a flu epidemic among his Leicester players. O' Neill is waiting on the fitness of midfielders Muzzy Izzet and Neil Lennon, who are both suffering from the bug and have not trained all week. Veteran defender Steve Walsh will return to the side after missing last weekend's defeat at through illness but Tony Cottee is fit to play.

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (from): Srnicek, Atherton, Jonk, Walker, Booth, Hyde, Sanetti, Cobian, Humphreys, Briscoe, Hinchcliffe, Sedloski, Emerson, Magilton, Rudi, Sonner, Alexandersson, Clarke.

LEICESTER CITY (from): Keller, Arphexad, Walsh, Sinclair, Taggart, Guppy, Ullathorne, Elliott, Savage, Lennon, Izzet, Impey, Zagorakis, Kaamark, Heskey, Cottee, Wilson, Oakes, Parker, Fenton.

Suspensions: Wednesday: Carbone.

Referee: M Reed.

Southampton v

Chelsea (12 noon)

Last season: 1-0

SOUTHAMPTON COMPLETED the signing of French full-back Patrick Colleter from Marseilles on Christmas Eve and he might go straight into the side to face Chelsea today. The 33-year-old impressed Saints manager Dave Jones during a trial period and could boost an otherwise depleted team. Old Blues boy Mark Hughes will not be able to face his old club as he is suspended for two matches. Jones had 16 senior players unavailable last weekend as his side hauled themselves off the foot of the Premiership with a third win of the season over Wimbledon. Stuart Ripley, Matthew Oakley, Jason Dodd and Ken Monkou are all now close to full fitness. Francis Benali, Scott Marshall, John Beresford, Dave Hirst and David Howells are all still missing and young defender Gary Monk, who stood in for Monkou, is also suspended.

Gianluca Vialli welcomes Marcel Desailly back into his Chelsea squad. Bernard Lambourde is also expected to be fit while Gustavo Poyet was due rejoin his team-mates on Christmas Eve after playing for Uruguay in Spain. Dennis Wise and Roberto di Matteo are suspended, so youth-team captain John Terry and Andy Myers are both added to the squad.

SOUTHAMPTON (from): Jones, Hiley, Lundekvam, Monkou, Bridge, Palmer, Kachloul, Oakley, Le Tissier, Beattie, Ostenstad, Dodd, Ripley, Warner, Stensgaard, Basham, Dryden, Williams.

CHELSEA (from): De Goey, Petrescu, Babayaro, Leboeuf, Poyet, Vialli, Duberry, Ferrer, Lambourde, Zola, Morris, Goldbaek, Flo, Hitchcock, Nicholls, Terry, Desailly, Myers.

Suspensions: Southampton: M Hughes, Monk. Chelsea: Wise, Di Matteo.

Referee: D Elleray.

Wimbledon v Charlton (12 noon)

Last season: No fixture

WIMBLEDON' JOE KINNEAR has the chance to recall six-goal striker Jason Euell today. The England Under-21 international was banned for last week's 3-1 defeat at Southampton. Michael Hughes is holding off a double hernia operation until the end of the season so Kinnear has a full-strength squad to select from.

Paul Mortimer is out of both Charlton's Christmas fixtures with the ankle injury that forced him to miss the last two games. The midfielder picked up the knock in the game against Blackburn on 5 December and, although X-rays revealed no break, he has been unable to train since. Eddie Youds is available again after suspension for the short trip to Selhurst Park but manager Alan Curbishley is still without several players. Mark Bright, Kevin Lisbie, Anthony Barness, Matt Holmes and Mark Bowen are still all out with injury and Curbishley may be forced to give debuts to youngsters Scott Parker and Paul Konchesky.

WIMBLEDON (from): Sullivan, Cunningham, Kimble, Perry, Blackwell, Thatcher, C Hughes, Earle, Ekoku, Roberts, Gayle, Ardley, Leaburn, M Hughes, Kennedy, Euell, Jupp, Cort, Ainsworth, Fear, Castledine.

CHARLTON ATHLETIC (from): Ilic, Petterson, Mills, Powell, Tiler, Redfearn, Youds, Rufus, Kinsella, Robinson, Newton, Hunt, Mendonca, Brown, S Jones, K Jones, Parker, Royce, Konchesky.

Suspensions: None.

Referee: N Barry.

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