Football: Match Previews

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The Independent Online


Blackburn v Coventry

Blackburn will again be without long-term absentees Pearce, Fenton, Ripley and Coleman. Ukrainian international defender Yevtushok, an pounds 800,000 signing from Dnepr Dnepropetrovsk, may be called up for his Coventry debut as Breen is cup-tied.


Birmingham v Wrexham

Birmingham could be without nine players, with former FA Cup winners Bruce, Ablett (both hamstring) and Limpar (knee) all doubtful, while Devlin has a back problem. Definitely out are knee-injury victims Francis and Tait, the suspended Grainger, Barnett, who has glandular fever, and the cup-tied pair Forster and O'Connor. Newell has been recalled from his loan spell with West Ham. Humes, Ward and Brace all face late fitness tests for Wrexham, so Skinner and teenage striker Morris are added to the squad.

Chesterfield v N Forest

Chesterfield captain Dyche will undergo a late fitness test on a hamstring strain. Holland is struggling with a groin injury, while Davies, who scored a hat-trick in the last round, is trying to shake off a bout of tonsillitis. Williams is definitely out through suspension. Forest player-manager Pearce is banned, so Gemmill is likely to return with Phillips moving to left- back.

Leeds v Portsmouth

Bowyer (ankle) faces a late fitness test for Leeds. Portsmouth's Swedish striker Svensson also has a test on an arm injury. Whitbread is available following a knee injury.

Man City v Middlesbro

For City, Brightwell, Beagrie and McGoldrick are all fit. Middlesbrough will be without the suspended Emerson, while Moore has a test on an ankle injury. Goalkeeper Miller has been recalled from a loan spell with Grimsby.

Wimbledon v QPR

Holdsworth is set to retain his place for the Dons. Rangers will be without the suspended Impey and Maddix, but Spencer is expected to shake off an ankle injury to lead the front line.


Bradford C v Sheff Wed

Bradford manager Kamara has a full squad to choose from as City are are free of injury and suspension. In contrast, Wednesday have injury worries over Pembridge (back), Hyde (thigh), Nolan and Blinker (both knee) all doubtful. Trustfull is out (medial ligaments).

Leicester v Chelsea

Leicester have Izzet, Lennon, Heskey and Elliott suspended, Whitlow, Hill and Kamark are all out injured, while Lawrence, Taylor and Walsh are struggling for full fitness. Vialli is likely to be left kicking his heels on the Chelsea bench again.



Derby v West Ham

Derby's Croat defender Stimac makes his first appearance of 1997, having recovered from a hernia operation. However, Laursen (calf), Willems (hamstring) and Carbon (groin) are all out, while Darryl Powell starts a three-match ban. Dailly returns from suspension and Ward has recovered from ankle and shin injuries. Strikers Hartson and Kitson both make their West Ham debuts, while Dowie is expected to be on the bench after recovering from a fractured ankle which has kept him out for two months. Bilic is suspended, Moncur has a knee injury and Porfirio is hoping to shake off a hamstring problem.

Tottenham v Arsenal

Spurs striker Iversen should be fit after a recent groin injury, while Anderton could make his first start for seven weeks after knee trouble. Dozzell has also recovered from a calf injury and is in a 17-man squad along with Calderwood, who has completed a two-match ban. He replaces Nethercott, who misses out because of his own one-match suspension. Adams could play for Arsenal despite an ankle injury, although keeper Seaman is definitely out with a small tear in a knee ligament, as is Platt, who is still struggling with a hamstring problem. Bergkamp returns from his three-match suspension.