Football: Team News

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Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers

Villa halted a sequence of two points earned from six games by winning at Norwich in midweek. Striker Whittingham is expected to recover from a thigh injury and Atkinson (flu) and Parker (ankle) return to the squad. Rovers striker Newell is again doubtful with a knee strain.

Everton v West Ham United

Everton are ready to welcome back striker Rideout after injury, having failed to score in more than eight hours of football. Captain Watson is still ruled out with a broken nose. West Ham, who are again without centre back Martin (ankle trouble), could make changes after their 3-1 home defeat by Tottenham on Tuesday.

Ipswich Town v Liverpool

Midfielder Johnson is back in the Ipswich squad eight months after a serious knee operation. The team are at full strength as they attempt to further their eight- match unbeaten run. Dicks's comeback for Liverpool after his knee injury is suspended, with the former West Ham defender suffering a reaction. Barnes, though, could return after a groin problem.

Manchester Utd v Leeds Utd

Hughes is Manchester United's only doubt as they attempt to extend their 14- point lead in the Premiership. The Welsh international striker missed Wednesday's 5-2 win at Oldham with a heel injury and faces a late fitness test. If Hughes is out, manager Ferguson will rely on an unchanged side, with Giggs playing in a central striking role. Leeds are without top scorer Rod Wallace as they bid to beat United for the first time in 13 attempts. Wallace, with 10 goals, pulled a hamstring in the midweek draw with Queen's Park Rangers but Welsh international Speed could return after damaging knee ligaments. Central defender Wetherall and striker Whelan are struggling to recover from viral infections and Sharp (groin) is doubtful. Defender Couzens is included in the squad.

Newcastle United v Manchester City

Robinson, a pounds 450,000 signing from Barnsley last season, will start his first match for Newcastle. Right-back Robinson damaged his knee pre-season, and the injury kept him out until an appearance as substitute at Chelsea on Tuesday. With captain Venison unavailable with a groin strain, Robinson stands by, with Watson the player under threat. Manager Keegan must also decide whether to throw in centre back Scott, who has missed the last five games through injury. City have suffered two further blows to their list of injuries. Captain Curle has partially torn cruciate ligaments which will keep him out for three weeks, and newcomer Griffiths is ruled out for the same period with an ankle injury. Manager Horton has signed Shutt on two months loan from Birmingham, and he goes straight into the side.

QPR v Sheffield Wednesday

Rangers' England defender Bardsley and midfielder Holloway are both doubtful, facing tests on back and knee injuries respectively. Strikers Allen and White (foot injuries) and defender McDonald (Achilles tendon) are still unavailable, while Ready and Barker are suspended. Wednesday's Sinton returns to his former club, after playing in midweek against Swindon, following an ankle injury. Striker Jemson could come in for Watson, despite the former Charlton striker scoring twice in midweek.

Sheffield United v Oldham Athletic

United await the result of a fitness test on Norwegian international left-back Nilsen, who came off soon after half-time at Arsenal on Wednesday with a mystery illness and has been to hospital for a scan. Former Spurs centre-back Tuttle is likely to return after missing two games with a stomach infection and midfielder Kamara is also fit again. Injury-hit Oldham will be unchanged. Manager Royle, without five players, is forced to name the same 14 who were on duty in Wednesday's 5-2 defeat by leaders Manchester United.

Southampton v Norwich City

Southampton will again be without experienced midfielder Reid, troubled by the ankle injury which forced him to miss the midweek draw at Manchester City. Saints also have doubts about defender Monkou (hamstring) and full back Dodd, who faces a fitness test on a damaged ankle. Megson looks set to return for Norwich after a late test on a back strain. He is expected to replace David Smith in the centre of midfield, but defender Polston and midfielder Goss are again on the injured list.

Swindon Town v Chelsea

Hammond takes over in goal for Swindon from the injured Digby, who is recuperating for up to five weeks after dislocating his right shoulder. Swindon's search for a loan keeper to act as cover failed yesterday and youth team keeper Cook will be on the bench. Dutch midfielder Nijholt is still ruled out by a flu virus. Welsh international Bodin will have a late test on a foot injury and striker Scott is hoping to shake off a heavy cold. Chelsea manager Hoddle has no new injury worries as he takes his side back to his former club. Johnsen, Dow and Shipperley, all recalled for the 1-0 win against Newcastle on Tuesday, which registered Chelsea's first win in 12 outings, are set to continue.

Tottenham Hotspur v Coventry City

Tottenham will again be without Sheringham who has a calf problem. Williams, who scored Coventry's goals when they completed the double over Tottenham last season, is fit and expected to lead their attack.

Wimbledon v Arsenal

Wimbledon are unchanged, with striker Blissett keeping his place on the bench after his hernia operation. Defender Joseph is still struggling with a leg injury and will be out of action for another fortnight. Arsenal look certain to be unchanged after two wins over the holiday period when they scored seven goals without reply against Swindon and Sheffield United.

Elsewhere . . .

Rodger, who scored a last-minute winner on Wednesday for Crystal Palace against Southend as a substitute, and Osborn are in contention for midfield places for the game at their south London rivals Millwall. . . New pounds 150,000 signing Willis will be on the substitutes' bench for Birmingham City in place of Shutt, who is on loan, as Fry takes his team to his previous managerial post, Southend United.

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