Football: Weekend guide to the Premiership

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Charlton Athletic v Leeds United

Last season: No fixture

CHARLTON WILL again rely on their third-choice goalkeeper Andy Petterson when they face Leeds at The Valley today. Simon Royce has been absent since injuring his knee in training last month while Sasa Ilic was taken off on a stretcher off during the win over West Ham.

Striker Clive Mendonca is suffering from a back injury and will have a late fitness test.

Leeds will be without their Norwegian international duo Alf Inge Haaland and Gunnar Halle - Haaland is still struggling with a groin injury while Halle sustained a knee problem during the goalless home draw with Liverpool on Monday. The Welsh Under-21 international, Matthew Jones, who replaced Halle on Monday, in contention to start only his second game for the club.

David O'Leary might switch Jonathon Woodgate from the centre to right back, and play David Wetherall alongside captain Lucas Radebe. Lee Bowyer faces Charlton for the first time since he joined Leeds in the summer of 1996 for pounds 2.6m.

CHARLTON ATHLETIC (from): Barnes, Barness, Beale, Bright, Brown, Fortune, Hunt, S Jones, K Jones, Kinsella, Konchesky, Mendonca, Mills, Mortimer, Newton, Parker, Petterson, Powell, Pringle, Redfearn, Robinson, Rufus, Tiler, Toms, Youds.

LEEDS UNITED (from): Martyn, Radebe, Wetherall, Wijnhard, Hasselbaink, Ribeiro, Bowyer, Hopkin, Granville, Kewell, Harte, Knarvik, Batty, Woodgate, Smith, Jones, Robinson.

Referee: A Wilkie.

Coventry City v Middlesbrough

Last season: No fixture

COVENTRY EXPECT to be unchanged despite Paul Telfer suffering a dead leg at Everton on Sunday. He has been under treatment and is expected to be fit. Striker John Aloisi is in the frame to play up front, with Noel Whelan dropping into midfield if Telfer does not play.

Gordon Strachan's biggest decision will be whether to pick Darren Huckerby. The striker has now gone 13 games without a goal and has struggled to find his best form as the side have pulled themselves out of the bottom three.

Strachan kept faith with him against Everton but described the team's first-half performance in the 2-0 defeat as a "waste of time" and could be tempted to bring Aloisi in from the start.

Middlesbrough will give late fitness tests to Paul Gascoigne, Gary Pallister and Robbie Mustoe but their Italian defender Gianluca Festa is out with a thigh injury, and wing-back Robbie Stockdale is suspended as Bryan Robson's side look to build on a run of six games undefeated.

COVENTRY CITY (from): Hedman, Breen, Shaw, Williams, Burrows, Telfer, McAllister, Soltvedt, Boateng, Whelan, Huckerby, Aloisi, Clement, Gioacchini, Kirkland, Konjic, Edworthy, Boland.

MIDDLESBROUGH (from): Schwarzer, Beresford, Baker, Kinder, Vickers, Pallister, Cooper, Gordon, Maddison, Mustoe, Gascoigne, O'Neill, Townsend, Summerbell, Armstrong, Ricard, Deane.

Suspension: Middlesbrough: Stockdale.

Referee: D Elleray.

Liverpool v Aston Villa

Last season: 3-0

LIVERPOOL'S FLEETING hopes of Europe will be put to the test today without hamstring victim Michael Owen. Karlheinz Riedle will take his place, with the Anfield side knowing they can claim fifth spot and overtake Aston Villa if they win their games in hand.

Owen, injured at Leeds on Monday, won't play again until next season, which means Sean Dundee also comes into the reckoning up front.

Rigobert Song will be back after international duty with Cameroon, while Steve Staunton is fighting to recover from an ankle injury. Vegard Heggem is still doubtful with a leg injury.

Paul Merson is hoping to win a recall to the starting line-up for Villa after being on the bench for the last four games but he impressed as a substitute during last Saturday's 3-0 win against Southampton.

Villa do have a vacancy to fill in midfield because Alan Thompson is set to miss the rest of the season with the hamstring injury he suffered in that game but Lee Hendrie is also pressing for his place after taking over from Thompson.

LIVERPOOL (from): James, Gerrard, Heggem, Song, Babb, Staunton, Carragher, Matteo, McManaman, Ince, Redknapp, Berger, Riedle, Fowler, Dundee, Friedel, Bjornebye, Ferri, Thompson, Leonhardsen.

ASTON VILLA (from): Bosnich, Watson, Calderwood, Southgate, Wright, Stone, Draper, Hendrie, Merson, Taylor, Collymore, Joachim, Delaney, Barry, Scimeca, Oakes, Vassell.

Referee: J Winter.

Manchester United v Sheff Wed

Last season: 6-1

MANCHESTER UNITED'S reserve goalkeeper Raimond van der Gouw is on standby with Peter Schmeichel receiving treatment on a slight groin strain picked up in the FA Cup win over Arsenal. He is expected to be fit enough to face Juventus in next Wednesday's European Cup semi-final. Ryan Giggs has little chance of playing today after picking up a foot injury but should also be fit for Turin. The injury is not as serious as first anticipated and that will be a relief to Alex Ferguson, given his current form, which led to the wondergoal that sank the Gunners. Swedish winger Jesper Blomqvist, who started Wednesday's game ahead of Giggs, is also having treatment after taking a knock against Arsenal.

Yugoslav international Dejan Stefanovic has made himself available for Sheffield Wednesday again. Stefanovic had decided not to play for the Owls in the wake of the Kosovo crisis - and with friends and family living in and around Belgrade - but the defender played in the reserves in midweek and comes into contention in an otherwise injury and suspension-free squad.

MANCHESTER UNITED (from): Van der Gouw or Schmeichel, G Neville, Stam, Johnsen, P Neville, Beckham, Keane, Butt, Scholes, Cole, Yorke, Solskjaer, Blomqvist, Sheringham, Irwin, Greening, Curtis, Culkin.

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (from): Srnicek, Atherton, Jonk, Newsome, Walker, Carbone, Booth, Sanetti, Cobian, Humphreys, Briscoe, Stefanovic, Emerson, Hinchcliffe, Rudi, Alexandersson, Sonner, Cresswell, Scott, Pressman.

Suspensions: None.

Referee: N Barry.

Newcastle United v Everton

Last season: 1-0

THE YOUNG Newcastle duo David Beharall and Steve Caldwell are standing by to make Premiership debuts after injury problems have limited Ruud Gullit's options. The FA Cup finalists are without the injured Steve Howey, Laurent Charvet and Didier Domi and the suspended Nikos Dabizas, and either Beharall or Caldwell will team up with 19-year-old Aaron Hughes in central defence. The former Everton striker Duncan Ferguson, who made his comeback in the semi-final victory over Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday, may have to settle for a bench place.

Don Hutchison returns for Everton after a three-match ban against Newcastle, the club he supported as a boy. Nicky Barmby serves a one-game suspension, while David Unsworth returns after recovering from the illness that ruled him out last Sunday. Marco Materazzi will make way for Unsworth and will also miss out next week against Charlton as Walter Smith sees no point in including the Italian knowing he is then banned for the rest of the season. Ibrahima Bakayoko is back in the squad after international duty but could be on the bench after Kevin Campbell's two goals against Coventry.

NEWCASTLE UNITED (from): Given, Harper, Barton, Griffin, Hughes, Beharall, Caldwell, Speed, Hamann, Lee, Georgiadis, Maric, Brady, Ketsbaia, Shearer, Ferguson, Pearce, McClen.

EVERTON (from): Myhre, Weir, Short, Watson, Unsworth, Ball, Hutchison, Dacourt, Gemmill, Jeffers, Campbell, Grant, Cadamarteri, Degn, Ward, Bakayoko, Simonsen.

Suspensions: Newcastle: Dabizas. Everton: Barmby.

Referee: G Poll.

Nottm Forest v Tottenham

Last season: No fixture

PIERRE VAN HOOIJDONK is expected to keep his place in the Nottingham Forest line-up despite an argument with manager Ron Atkinson over his performance in last Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Derby. Forest will be without Carlton Palmer for a game which could see them relegated.

Tottenham's Darren Anderton faces a late test on a hip injury and with Andy Sinton another doubt, manager George Graham is likely to make changes. Anderton and Sinton both took knocks in last Sunday's FA Cup semi final defeat by Newcastle and it could mean rare starts for Ruel Fox and Jose Dominguez - in the Portuguese winger's case his first this season. Graham also has promising young defender Ledley King in a 19-man squad. Full- back Justin Edinburgh is still serving a four-match suspension after being sent off in the Worthington Cup final and this will be extended to five games after he collected a fifth yellow card this season a week later. Stephen Clemence is fit again after three months out with a calf injury and is added to the squad.

NOTTINGHAM FOREST (from): Crossley, Louis-Jean, Gough, Edwards, Chettle, Rogers, Freedman, Johnson, Bonalair, Van Hooijdonk, Harewood, Shipperley, Woan, Mattsson, Lyttle, Porfirio, Stensaas, Hjelde, Goodlad.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (from): Walker; Carr, King, Nilsen, Campbell, Taricco, Young, Freund, Sherwood, Nielsen, Fox, Dominguez, Clemence, Anderton, Ferdinand, Iversen, Ginola, Armstrong, Baardsen (gk).

Suspensions: Forest: Palmer. Spurs: Edinburgh.

Referee: G Willard.

West Ham United v Derby County

Last season: 0-0

WEST HAM'S Paul Kitson is out of because of a hip injury, so Ian Wright is set to start. The former Arsenal manager tasted his first competitive action since January as a substitute in last week's 0-0 draw with Leicester and it is most likely that Harry Redknapp will name him in the starting XI. England defender Rio Ferdinand is still out with ankle ligament damage despite hopes that he might have returned. The Cameroon international Marc-Vivien Foe is back from international duty, and that could mean Eyal Berkovic dropping to the bench if Harry Redknapp uses a 4-4-2 formation.

Derby plan to take the game by using three strikers at Upton Park. Although top scorer Deon Burton is suspended, Mikkel Beck is back from injury and Dean Sturridge could also link up with the Dane and Paulo Wanchope in a three-pronged attack. Derby still have their Croatian captain Igor Stimac and the Italians Stefano Eranio and Francesco Baiano on the injury list while Vas Borbokis and Rory Delap are out for the rest of the season.

WEST HAM (from): Hislop, Potts, Ruddock, Pearce, Minto, Keller, Sinclair, Lomas, Foe, Lampard, Berkovic, Wright, Di Canio, Forrest, Cole, Lazaridis, Moncur, Coyne, Holligan, Abou, Boylan.

DERBY (from): Hoult, Prior, Carbonari, Schnoor, Laursen, Powell, Bohinen, Dorigo, Sturridge, Beck, Wanchope, Poom, Harper, Elliott, Christie, Jackson, Bridge-Wilkinson, Murray.

Suspensions: Derby: Burton.

Referee: K Burge.


Chelsea v Leicester City

Last season: 1-0

GIANLUCA VIALLI has an injury and suspension-free side to select from for tomorrow's game. Franck Leboeuf and Celestine Babayaro both missed the Blues' midweek 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough through injury but are back in the squad. Gustavo Poyet picked up a slight knee injury during the game at the Riverside and had been considered a slight doubt but he trained alongside the rest of the squad yesterday.

Leicester's Frank Sinclair makes an emotional return to Stamford Bridge after escaping a two-match ban. The 27-year-old thought he may have to miss the game along with Leicester's next away trip - to Liverpool next Wednesday - after picking up 11 bookings. However, an FA disciplinary panel decided against imposing a suspension and, instead, Sinclair was given an undisclosed fine and a warning about his future conduct. Leicester's other former Chelsea player, Muzzy Izzet, remains doubtful after missing the last two games with a hamstring problem.

CHELSEA (from): De Goey, Kharine, Hitchcock, Leboeuf, Desailly, Le Saux, Ferrer, Myers, Duberry, Lambourde, Terry, Petrescu, Di Matteo, Babayaro, Poyet, Wise, Goldbaek, Newton, Nicholls, Morris, Zola, Flo, Forssell, Vialli.

LEICESTER CITY (from): Keller, Arphexad, Guppy, Taggart, Sinclair, Elliott, Ullathorne, Lennon, Impey, Gunnlaugsson, Parker, Heskey, Cottee, Savage, Kaamark, Miller, Marshall, Fenton, Wilson, Campbell, Zagorakis.

Suspensions: None.

Referee: M Reed.


Arsenal v Wimbledon

Last season: 5-0

PHYSICALLY AND mentally draining their FA Cup semi-final replay defeat by Manchester United may have been, but at least Arsenal have the luxury of a long weekend to recover, with this cross-town meeting scheduled for Monday night.

Despite the disappointment of Wednesday's loss, Arsene Wenger's side are still very much in contention for the title and their League form to date this year is nothing if not that of champions. The Gunners are currently unbeaten in 17 League games and the last player to score a League goal against them at Highbury was Leeds' Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink on 20 December.

On top of that impressive run, Arsenal have lost just three times this season, one incidence of which came courtesy of Monday's opponents at Selhurst Park back in November, when Efan Ekoku scored the winning goal.

Wimbledon, however, are presently in no way reproducing the form they were showing before Christmas, having won only one of their last 11 and disappeared out of the running for a Uefa Cup place. It is perhaps no coincidence that their wretched League form has coincided with the convalescence of their charismatic manager, Joe Kinnear, and, with their portly forward John Hartson utterly failing to justify his pounds 7.2m transfer fee, it is difficult to see past Arsenal claiming another three points, especially as Martin Keown's two-match suspension does not begin until after this match.

Wimbledon's cause will not be helped by the absence of both Ekoku and Michael Hughes. The Nigerian international is out for the rest of the season after surgery on a torn cartilage and Hughes has also just left hospital, having finally succumbed to his long-term groin trouble and undergone a double hernia operation yesterday.

SQUADS: To be announced.

Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley).