Football: Weekend guide to the Premiership

Match of the day
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Manchester Utd v Leeds Utd

Last season 3-2

LEEDS' NEW striker Darren Huckerby yesterday said he was looking forward to life at the top of the Premiership after two years of struggle with Coventry. Huckerby completed his pounds 4m move from the Sky Blues, a figure which could rise to a club record pounds 5.5m depending on the performances of both player and club.

The 23-year-old is certain to be thrown straight in at the deep end, linking up in attack with another new face in pounds 5m Michael Bridges (right) against Manchester United. Huckerby, who signed a five-year contract, said: "Leeds are a top club and when you've been fighting for two years at Coventry it's nice to come to one of the best teams in Europe.

"But I've got to get into the side first because when I look around there are 10 or 11 world-class players here." With the acquisition of the former England under-21 and B international, manager David O'Leary has taken his summer spending to just over pounds 19m.

When the Irishman took over the managerial reins at Elland Road last October, Huckerby was one of his prime targets, with his quest finally coming to fruition this week. O'Leary said: "It's fantastic to get Darren here because he is a player I have wanted for quite a while. He is young, he is English and he is quick, although we've got to develop him and mould him off and on the field.

"Hopefully then he will become someone that will give [England manager] Kevin Keegan another Leeds player to pick."

Sir Alex Ferguson's side could be unchanged for the first time since March after the 4-0 midweek win over Sheffield Wednesday. Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Dwight Yorke are all expected to be fit for the match after playing part of Wednesday night's game, during which even defender Jaap Stam (right) made attacking dribbles up the left wing. Yorke was replaced at half-time after scoring his second goal in as many games with a slight groin strain, while Giggs and Beckham came off after an hour.

United are waiting to see whether South African midfielder Quinton Fortune is granted a work permit before concluding his transfer from Atletico Madrid. Sir Alex said his side will not be distracted by uncertainty over whether Roy Keane is staying or going.

"Obviously we all want Roy to stay and hopefully we will get the right indication," said the United manager. "We just have to wait on that, but it won't affect Roy. The important thing is that we make sure Roy and every one of us are focused on winning this game and we will pull together in that respect."

The Leeds forward, Alan Smith, is still struggling with an ankle injury which kept him out of the 3-0 midweek win at Southampton, while Australian international Harry Kewell is doubtful with a similar problem.

MANCHESTER UNITED (from): Bosnich, P Neville, Berg, Stam, Irwin, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Cole, Yorke, Butt, Sheringham, Solskjaer, Cruyff, Curtis, van der Gouw.

LEEDS UNITED (from): Martyn, Kelly, Harte, Haaland, Radebe, Woodgate, Hopkin, Bridges, Kewell, Bowyer, McPhail, Smith, Mills, Bakke, Jones, Hiden, Duberry, Batty, Huckerby, Robinson.

Suspensions: None.

Referee: P Durkin.

Bradford v Sheff Wed

Last season: No fixture

BRADFORD'S MANAGER, Paul Jewell, has two reasons to be cheerful before his side's Yorkshire derby today as City welcome Premier League football to Valley Parade for the first time in their history. Andy Myers, an pounds 800,000 buy from Chelsea, and Jamie Lawrence should both be included in the squad after recovering from thigh strains which kept them out of last week's opening day 1-0 win at Middlesbrough. Centre-back John Dreyer, however, is doubtful with a groin strain, while Stuart McCall, Lee Sharpe and Isiah Rankin remain on the long-term injured list. Ashley Westwood is still suspended.

Sheffield Wednesday's midfielder Danny Sonner is out with an Achilles injury. Sonner picked up the knock during the 4-0 defeat at Manchester United in midweek, leaving the Owls at the bottom of the Premiership after two defeats. Manager Danny Wilson will be hoping that the Netherlands international Wim Jonk returns to fill the vacancy after missing the season's opening games because of the death of his father-in-law and the birth of his daughter.

BRADFORD CITY (from): Walsh, Wright, Wetherall, Whalley, Dreyer, Halle, O'Brien, Moore, Jacobs, Todd, Beagrie, Redfearn, Myers, Windass, Lawrence, Saunders, Blake, Mills, Clarke.

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (from): Srnicek, Atherton, Hinchcliffe, Jonk, Emerson, Walker, Carbone, Sibon, Booth, O'Donnell, Cresswell, Rudi, Scott, Alexandersson, Nolan, Newsome, Donnelly, Humphreys, Briscoe, Haslam, de Bilde, Pressman.

Suspensions: Bradford: Westwood, Watson.

Referee: D Gallagher.

Derby v Middlesbrough

Last season 2-1

DEON BURTON is likely to make his first start of the season for Derby today. Burton has been on the bench for the Rams' first two games, but he is the favourite to partner Mikkel Beck up front at Pride Park because the deal to sign the Argentinian forward Esteban Fuertes has been called off at least for the time being. Lars Bohinen may also figure for the first time this season after recovering from a knee injury. Dean Sturridge (hamstring) and Tony Dorigo (calf) are still out but are expected to return for the Rams' trip to Coventry next Saturday.

Middlesbrough's German international Christian Ziege will have a late fitness test before his manager Bryan Robson names a side for the trip to Derby. The former Milan wing-back suffered a thigh injury in the 3- 2 win at Wimbledon on Tuesday night, and was initially expected to be out for a fortnight, but after further investigation he has been given a slim chance of making the trip to the Midlands. Gary Pallister is still not in contention for a return to the first team and will play in the reserves to build up match fitness before a possible return against Liverpool next Saturday.

DERBY COUNTY (from): Poom, Carbonari, Schnoor, Delap, Laursen, Prior, Eranio, Powell, Johnson, Baiano, Beck, Burton, Elliott, Bohinen, Harper, Borbokis, Hoult.

MIDDLESBROUGH (from): Schwarzer, Roberts, Stockdale, Stamp, Festa, Vickers, Ince, Gordon, Ziege, O'Neill, Mustoe, Townsend, Gascoigne, Maddison, Summerbell, Campbell, Armstrong, Ricard, Deane.

Suspensions: None.

Referee: S Bennett.

Leicester v Chelsea

Last season 2-4

LEICESTER COULD again be without their England international striker, Emile Heskey, for today's game. He missed the 1-0 midweek win over Coventry because of a whiplash injury he suffered in the 2-1 defeat against Arsenal on the opening day of the season. Heskey will have a late fitness test and other players under treatment are midfielder Robbie Savage and defender Gerry Taggart. The club's latest signing, Phil Gilchrist, could make his full debut.

The Chelsea midfielder Roberto Di Matteo will be out of action for about two months following an operation on an injured ankle earlier this week. With Jody Morris also not expected to play for another week to 10 days with a twisted ankle, manager Gianluca Vialli is expected to continue to partner Dennis Wise with Didier Deschamps in central midfield at Filbert Street. Vialli does have the option of moving Gustavo Poyet inside and must decide whether to break up a winning side after two consecutive victories, with Tore Andre Flo, Celestine Babayaro, Bjarne Goldbaek and Jes Hogh all hoping for call-ups.

LEICESTER CITY (from): Flowers, Sinclair, Elliott, Taggart, Gilchrist, Impey, Savage, Lennon, Izzet, Guppy, Fenton, Marshall, Cottee, Heskey, Campbell, Wilson, Zagorakis, Oakes, Arphexad.

CHELSEA (from): De Goey, Hitchcock, Cudicini, Ferrer, Le Saux, Terry, Leboeuf, Desailly, Hogh, Babayaro, Petrescu, Poyet, Wise, Goldbaek, Deschamps, Nicholls, Zola, Flo, Sutton, Forssell.

Suspensions: None.

Referee: S Lodge.

Liverpool v Watford

Last season: No fixture

LIVERPOOL'S TEENAGE midfielder Steven Gerrard is expected to replace the pounds 8m Dietmar Hamann when Liverpool face promoted Watford at Anfield this afternoon. Hamann is out for three months after injuring his ankle against Sheffield Wednesday on the opening day of the season. He is joined on the injured list by pounds 3.5m defender Stephane Henchoz and striker Michael Owen. Liverpool's manager, Gerard Houllier, said: "It won't be long now before Owen is back. It's the end of a very frustrating time for the lad. I expect him to be training with everyone else during the next week." Houllier will not consider a target game for Owen's comeback, saying: "You can be sure that Michael is desperate to play." Veggard Heggem is expected to play despite being involved in a car accident in Liverpool this week.

Graham Taylor has Micah Hyde and Paul Robinson available for Watford but hopes that goalkeeper Alec Chamberlain would have recovered from a dislocated finger in time to play have been dashed. Nick Wright, Allan Smart and Gifton Noel-Williams are all still out.

LIVERPOOL (from): Westerveld, Heggem, Hyypia, Carragher, Matteo, Smicer, Redknapp, Gerrard, Berger, Fowler, Camara, Thompson, Staunton, Song, Nielson, Meijer, Murphy.

WATFORD (from): Day; Lyttle, Williams, Page, Easton, Bonnot, Palmer, Johnson, Kennedy, Ngonge, Mooney, Brooker, Gibbs, Walker, Gudmundsson, Foley, Hyde, Robinson.

Suspensions: None.

Referee: A Wilkie.

Sunderland v Arsenal

Last season: No fixture

SUNDERLAND'S MANAGER, Peter Reid, is considering changing a winning team for Arsenal's visit to the Stadium of Light. "We gave it a go at Chelsea [in last week's 4-0 defeat]," Reid said. "Perhaps I was a bit naive - but I was pleased the way the players went about beating Watford in midweek when I felt there was anxiety about the place. In the four- and-a-half years I have been here I have always played my best team. But those days have gone. We have had a chat about it, and the players realise it is now a squad game. Sometimes I will be changing a winning side, and that could be tomorrow."

Arsenal's midfielder Ray Parlour has recovered from an ankle injury and is ready to play today. Marc Overmars, Tony Adams and David Seaman are still out however, and have only a small chance of returning for the key Highbury match with Manchester United a week tomorrow. Arsenal feared a lengthy lay-off for Parlour after he badly twisted an ankle at Derby on Tuesday but X-rays revealed no substantial damage. Nigel Winterburn has also shrugged off a slight ankle-injury doubt and Swedish midfield Fredrik Ljungberg (knee) is available again.

SUNDERLAND (from): Sorensen, Makin, Gray, Bould, Butler, Summerbee, Rae, Ball, Schwarz, Oster, Phillips, Quinn, Helmer, Marriott, McCann, Dichio, Fredgaard.

ARSENAL (from): Manninger; Dixon, Keown, Upson, Winterburn, Vieira, Petit, Parlour, Ljungberg, Bergkamp, Kanu, Henry, Grimandi, Luzhny, Silvinho, Malz, Boa Morte, Lukic.

Suspensions: None.

Referee: U Rennie.

Tottenham v Everton

Last season 4-1

TOTTENHAM'S LES FERDINAND is hopeful that recovery from an ankle injury will allow him to play. The striker aggravated an old problem against Newcastle on Monday and had to be substituted at half-time but has made good progress despite being kept out of training this week. Jose Dominguez is out with a calf injury similar to the one that is keeping captain Sol Campbell out. John Scales will again deputise at centre-back. Dutchman Willem Korsten is in an 18-man squad but is still short of full match- fitness and may only feature on the bench. Ramon Vega, Justin Edinburgh and Allan Nielsen are all unavailable, injured.

Everton's Francis Jeffers is expected to start up front alongside Kevin Campbell following the withdrawal of his transfer demand this week. It will mean Don Hutchison returning to a central midfield role, which is likely to mean Mitch Ward reverting to the bench. Manager Walter Smith must also decide on the construction of his defence. If Smith opts for a five-man back line, having played with just four in the opening two games, then Michael Ball could be on the bench.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR(from): Walker; Carr, Perry, Scales, Taricco, Anderton, Sherwood, Freund, Leonhardsen, Ginola, Iversen, Ferdinand, Korsten, Fox, Young, King, Gower, Baardsen (gk).

EVERTON (from): Gerrard, Simonsen, Cleland, Ball, Gough, Watson, Unsworth, Collins, Barmby, Hutchison, Gemmill, Pembridge, Weir, Campbell, Jeffers, Ward, Dunne, Cadamarteri, Phelan.

Suspensions: None.

Referee: P Jones.

Wimbledon v Coventry

Last season 2-1

WIMBLEDON'S COACH, Egil Olsen, will choose from a fully fit squad. Ben Thatcher looks set to be recalled after recovering from a collapsed lung and new signings Walid Badir and Trond Andersen are likely to win places on the substitutes' bench.

John Aloisi could start for Coventry as they go in search of their first goal of the new season. Their manager, Gordon Strachan, says he needs more presence in the penalty box and the Australian Aloisi could provide that after Darren Huckerby's departure to Leeds. "John has been working hard in training but at present has just not looked ready to step into the side," Strachan said yesterday. The manager now has pounds 10m to spend on two strikers and has already identified two targets and is in talks with their clubs. "We are playing well up to 25 yards out and then we are toothless," Strachan said. "We are talking to two clubs and the hope is we can bring in two players, an experienced striker and a younger player who might be needed as the season progresses." He is being linked with Dean Sturridge of Derby and West Brom's Lee Hughes, but declined to give any clues.

WIMBLEDON (from): Sullivan; Heald, Cunningham, Jupp, Blackwell, Pedersen, McAllister, Kimble, Thatcher, Badir, Andersen, Earle, Hughes, Ainsworth, Gayle, Euell, Cort, Hartson, Ekoku, Leaburn, Goodman.

COVENTRY (from): Hedman; Edworthy, Shaw, Williams, Burrows, Telfer, McAllister, Chippo, Froggatt, Whelan, Hadji, Aloisi, Konjic, Gavin Strachan, Breen, Quinn, M Hall, Normann, Nuzzo.

Suspensions: None.

Referee: M Halsey.

Monday's Match

Aston Villa v West Ham

Last season 0-0 (Sky, 8pm)

ASTON VILLA'S manager, John Gregory, believes Julian Joachim is ready for an England call-up. Joachim scored 16 goals last season and turned in an impressive performance in front of the England coach, Kevin Keegan, when he scored for the second time in two games against Everton on Wednesday.

"I don't know if Michael Owen will be ready for the next squad after injury, but in Julian he has got someone with the pace and goal-scoring ability of Michael," Gregory said. "I think Julian has come of age and I think that is down to him having a long, hard, look at the situation and realising `if I want to get into the team, I need to work harder, prepare myself better, and look after myself better physically during the week'.

West Ham's Harry Redknapp, meanwhile, has inquired about the Derby defender Igor Stimac. He wants to bolster his squad and his two priorities are a right-back and a centre-half. Redknapp is currently without Ian Pearce (fractured shin) and Neil Ruddock (hamstring), both out with long-term injuries. Rob Jones, who has had a knee operation, is unavailable, while Javier Margas is waiting for his work permit to be renewed.

SQUADS : To be announced.

Suspensions: West Ham: Wright, Lomas.

Referee: M Riley.

Tomorrow's Match

Southampton v Newcastle

Last season 2-1 (Sky, 4pm)

SOUTHAMPTON'S NEW Norwegian signing Trond-Egil Soltvedt is poised to make his debut after completing his pounds 300,000 move from Coventry. Soltvedt, who has signed a three-year contract at The Dell, is in contention to play as midfielder Chris Marsden is out with a foot injury. Marsden could be out for the next three weeks with a suspected broken toe. Striker Egil Ostenstad continues in attack alongside Latvian Marian Pahars with England Under-21 international James Beattie out until the start of next month with two broken ribs and a punctured lung. Captain Jason Dodd is expected to play despite a shoulder injury but striker David Hirst is out for the next three weeks with an Achilles problem. Midfielder David Howells and defender Richard Dryden are not yet fully fit after knee operations.

Newcastle will be without summer signings Marcelino and Franck Dumas as they go in search of their first Premiership points. The Spaniard and the Frenchman are both out injured and youngsters Aaron Hughes and Steve Caldwell are both in the squad, as is Dutch goalkeeper Jon Karelsa, signed on Thursday from NAC Breda.

SOUTHAMPTON (from): Jones, Dodd, Benali, Richards, Lundekvam, Soltvedt, M Hughes, Kachloul, Le Tissier, Ostenstad, Pahars, Beresford, Ripley, Monk, Oakley, Bridge, Moss.

NEWCASTLE UNITED(from): To be announced.

Suspensions: Newcastle: Griffin.

Referee: D Elleray.

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