Football: Team News

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Arsenal v Middlesbrough

Flatts is ready for an Arsenal recall as George Graham threatens to wield the axe after four successive Premier defeats. Limpar and Linighan are also in the squad, but Smith and Dixon are still sidelined through injury. Boro midfielder Falconer has recovered from injury, but may make only the bench.

Blackburn v Sheffield United

No place for the new Scandinavians, Andersson and Berg, despite Rovers' sagging form with only one win in their last eight games. Bradshaw is back in the Blades squad after a one-match ban, but Gayle and Whitehouse are still injured.

Chelsea v Manchester United

Harford, available after suspension, has a slight calf strain, but hopes to be fit for resurgent Chelsea. Shipperley, an 18- year-old striker, joins squad. Another teeenager, 17-year-old Gillespie, joins United squad though Kanchelskis should replace Giggs (ankle) in United's attack. United, still without Robson, seek fifth win in a row.

Coventry v Liverpool

Coventry without Ndlovu on international duty but Pearce (back) returns. Wright (flu) returns for Liverpool but McManaman (groin) is out.

Crystal Palace v Leeds

Armstrong, cup-tied in midweek, returns to lead Palace's attack tomorrow with Watts, the midweek hero. Humphrey and Southgate are under treatment for minor knocks, but should be fit. Chapman (shoulder) is expected to recover for the televised game but Batty (ankle) is still not fully match fit. Rocastle keeps deputising.

Everton v Southampton

Snodin in for Harper (groin) in Everton's defence. Monkou (hamstring) returns for Southampton, replacing Wood, as Saints look to continue their march away from relegation worries. But Cockerill (calf) is still struggling, so Groves' run continues.

Manchester City v Aston Villa

Reid, City's player-manager, will keep the title challengers guessing about his starting line-up. The midweek showing at Ipswich ranked as Villa's worst of the season. Villa's top scorer, Dalian Atkinson (hamstring), returns but his fellow- striker, Regis (leg), is ruled out.

Norwich v Ipswich

Norwich unchanged for a sixth successive match in Monday's sell-out East Anglian derby, the first for seven years. Ipswich must decide whether to keep Wark as a sweeper, while Welsh international midfielder Williams is pushing for a recall to the starting line- up after a thigh injury.

Nottingham Forest v Wimbledon

Forest, certain of spending Christmas Day rooted to the bottom of the Premier League, expect to be unchanged for tomorrow's set-to against their fellow struglers with Black continuing in place of Woan (hamstring). Fashanu, finally rid of the back problem, and Barton (also back), could return for Dons if their manager, Kinnear, contemplates changing the side that thrashed Oldham 5-2 last week.

Oldham v Tottenham

Ritchie is named in Oldham's 15-man squad for the first time this season, but Marshall, recovered from a broken finger which has kept him out for a month, is now doubtful with flu. Barlow takes over at left-back in place of suspended Barlow. Tottenham's highly rated teenage winger McMahon, is in 18-strong squad for the first time. Anderton, who hit a midweek reserve hat-trick, is also named, but both are likely to be disappointed following Spurs' spirited display against Arsenal.

Sheffield Wednesday v QPR

Palmer (hamstring) and Harkes (stomach strain) are worries for Wednesday with Bart-Williams, Wilson, Hyde and Anderson all in contention as Francis looks to halt a slide that has taken them into the bottom six. Rangers defender Peacock (virus) is battling to preserve his ever-present record this season; Maddix stands by. Rangers have lost five of last six, including a Coca-Cola defeat at Hillsborough.

Elsewhere . . .

Keegan, the Newcastle manager, has kept faith with Czech goalkeeper Srnicek for tomorrow's match with Millwall at St James' Park. Irish international Wright has played two comeback games after a two-month injury lay-off but Keegan has stuck with his deputy.