Football: Weekend guide to the Premiership

Match of the day

Sunderland v Chelsea

Last season: No fixture

PETER REID celebrates his 200th League game as manager of Sunderland today seeking revenge for the four-goal thrashing by Chelsea on the opening day of the season.

Reid took over from Mick Buxton in April 1995 with the club sinking towards the Second Division but, after two successful promotion campaigns, he has guided Sunderland to fourth position in the Premiership.

"To be honest I had no idea it was my 200th game," he said. "But it's not a bad milestone to achieve in a game where things can change so quickly. Anyone who is in charge for 200 games these days can't be doing too bad and at least it looks a fantastic game for everyone concerned."

Sunderland, however, must again overcome the loss of four players through suspension if they are to sustain their promising start to the campaign. Four first-choice central defenders are missing - Steve Bould completes a three-match ban, Paul Butler has reached five yellow cards and midfield pair Gavin McCann and Alex Rae are ruled out for one match. Chris Makin returns after completing a two-match ban to allow Darren Williams and Jody Craddock to resume their partnership in central defence for the first time since the 1998 play-off final defeat by Charlton at Wembley.

"The lads who have come in have done brilliantly for us in the Liverpool and Watford games and they've proved we do have a very strong squad here. I've no qualms about putting them in and in Williams and Craddock we've got two quality players," said Reid, who will be hoping that top scorer Kevin Phillips (left) who got one against Watford at Vicarage Road last week, can get on the scoresheet again.

Centre-back Frank Leboeuf is suspended for Chelsea but captain Dennis Wise (right) , who has been much missed, returns to Premiership action for the first time in six weeks after a four-match ban. Leboeuf will be replaced by Danish international Jes Hogh while Wise's return should mean that either Jody Morris is dropped or Didier Deschamps is rested after picking up a slight knock in training. Chris Sutton, who was sent home from training on Thursday with a heavy cold, Roberto Di Matteo and Bernard Lambourde are also hoping for places in the starting line-up but Graeme Le Saux, Gabriele Ambrosetti and Mikael Forssell remain on the injury list.

SUNDERLAND (from): Sorensen, Makin, Gray, Williams, Craddock, Summerbee, Ball, Roy, Schwarz, Quinn, Phillips, Reddy, Thirlwell, Holloway, Oster, Marriott.

CHELSEA (from): De Goey, Cudicini, Hitchcock, Babayaro, Desailly, Hogh, Ferrer, Lambourde, Terry, Petrescu, Wise, Poyet, Deschamps, Morris, Di Matteo, Goldbaek, Wolleaston, Harley, Zola, Flo, Sutton, Nicholls.

Suspensions: Sunderland: Rae, Butler, Bould, McCann. Chelsea: Leboeuf.

Leading scorers: Sunderland: Phillips (14). Chelsea: Flo (8).

Referee: S Dunn.

Aston Villa v Newcastle

Last season: 1-0

ITALIAN striker Benito Carbone, cup-tied for Villa's Worthington Cup clash against Southampton in mid-week, is recalled to the squad for this game. Carbone is likely to be on the bench for the meeting with Bobby Robson's side as Villa seek their first Premiership win in nine games. But central defender Ugo Ehiogu, whose calf strain has forced him to miss the last seven games, is still absent. Villa manager John Gregory is hoping that the midweek Worthington Cup success over Southampton will serve as a return to winning ways in the League. He said: "They have got to take the form that they showed in that match into the weekend. We have to play like that week in week out. There will be a 30,000-plus gate here against Newcastle and if we can keep winning then we will soon be locking the doors again."

Alan Shearer has recovered from a bout of tonsilitis and is expected to lead Newcastle's bid for a first away win in the Premiership. Warren Barton and Gary Speed return from suspension, while Franck Dumas and Alessandro Pistone are back after ankle injuries.

ASTON VILLA (from): James, Watson, Delaney, Calderwood, Southgate, Barry, Hendrie, Taylor, Boateng, Joachim, Dublin, Carbone, Merson, Stone, Ghrayib, Enckleman.

NEWCASTLE (from): Harper, Given, Barton, Charvet, Pistone, Dabizas, Helder, Dumas, Hughes, Lee, Speed, Solano, Maric, Glass, Fumaca, Shearer, Ketsbaia, Ferguson.

Suspensions: None.

Leading scorers: Villa: Dublin (11). Newcastle: Shearer (14).

Referee: M Riley.

Bradford City v Middlesbrough

Last season: No fixture

PAUL JEWELL, Bradford's manager, has taken goalkeeper Aidan Davison on loan from Sheffield United ahead of today's game. Davison will be on the bench as Matt Clarke continues to deputise for the injured Gary Walsh. Stuart McCall returns after injury and Lee Sharpe after food poisoning, but striker Dean Saunders, who scored the dramatic winning goal when Bradford beat Middlesbrough on the opening day of the season, is still out with a hamstring strain.

Middlesbrough will give late fitness tests to no fewer than five players. Defenders Colin Cooper and Gary Pallister have already been ruled out with knee and back injuries respectively but Curtis Fleming, Phil Stamp, Steve Vickers, Keith O'Neill and Paul Ince will be given time to prove their fitness before the trip to Valley Parade. The midweek penalty shoot- out victory over Arsenal bought Bryan Robson some respite but the Riverside faithful do not have limitless patience.

BRADFORD CITY (from): Clarke, Myers, McCall, Wetherall, Lawrence, Blake, Mills, Whalley, Beagrie, O'Brien, Windass, Sharpe, Halle, Rankin, Dreyer, Jacobs, Redfearn, Davison.

MIDDLESBOROUGH (from): Schwarzer, Beresford, Fleming, Stamp, Festa, Gavin, Vickers, O'Neill, Ziege, Maddison, Summerbell, Ince, Gascoigne, Mustoe, Juninho, Armstrong, Campbell, Deane, Ricard, Stockdale.

Suspensions: None.

Leading scorers: Bradford: Mills (4). Middlesbrough: Ricard (7).

Referee: R Harris.

Leicester City v Arsenal

Last season: 1-1

Kick-off 11.30am; live on Sky Sports 1

LEICESTER'S STEVE GUPPY is Martin O'Neill's only injury worry after missing training yesterday through illness and will have a fitness test. Steve Walsh will keep his place on the bench.

Arsenal have eight first-team candidates out of contention but Tony Adams, Emmanuel Petit, Marc Overmars and Nwankwo Kanu return after being rested for Tuesday's Worthington Cup-tie at Middlesbrough. David Seaman (calf) is out for another 10 days. Martin Keown still has a similar problem. Dennis Bergkamp has a niggling groin injury. Stefan Malz (knee), Oleg Luzhny (groin) and the suspended pair Patrick Vieira and Fredrik Ljungberg are also unavailable. With Ray Parlour out for up to four weeks with ankle ligament damage, Arsene Wenger may have to temporarily abandon his attempt to convert France's winger, Theirry Henry, into a central striker. Henry may have to switch back to the right flank to cover for Parlour. Lee Dixon, who has had a groin strain, and Nigel Winterburn, are due to return after a midweek rest.

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

ARSENAL (from): Manninger; Dixon, Upson, Adams, Winterburn; Henry, Petit, Grimandi, Hughes, Overmars, Kanu, Suker, Hughes, Silvinho, Vivas, Vernazza, Lukic (gk).

Suspensions: Arsenal: Ljungberg, Vieira.

Leading scorers: Leicester: Cottee (8). Arsenal: Kanu (7).

Referee: D Gallagher.

Manchester Utd v Everton

Last season: 3-1

THERE MAY be changes to the United side which clinched the Toyota Cup in Japan. Top scorer Andy Cole missed the trip to Tokyo because of a back injury but is ready for action now. Henning Berg, Raimond van der Gouw, and Jordi Cruyff also missed the trip to Japan and could come into contention if Sir Alex Ferguson feels any of his regulars have been affected by the 14-hour return journey. Mickael Silvestre has had treatment on a slight groin injury and Ferguson will check on everyone before the game before confirming his line-up.

Everton have a host of problems. Captain Don Hutchison and striker Danny Cadamarteri are suspended as the Blues seek to end a run of seven games without a win. Dave Watson (knee) and Mitch Ward (calf) are missing while Scot Gemmill is doubtful with an ankle injury. Thomas Myhre, Gareth Farrelly, John O'Kane, Terry Phelan and Michael Branch are all out on loan but Abel Xavier is in line for a return to midfield, while Tony Grant can expect at least a place on the bench alongside Phil Jevons.

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

EVERTON (from): Gerrard, Dunne, Weir, Gough, Unsworth, Barmby, Grant, Collins, Pembridge, Ball, Cleland, Abel Xavier, Jeffers, Campbell, Jevons, Simonsen.

Suspensions: Everton: Hutchison, Cadamarteri.

Leading scorers: Manchester United: Cole (14). Everton: Campbell (8).

Referee: G Poll.

Southampton v Coventry

Last season: 2-1

MARK HUGHES and Norwegian defender Claus Lundekvam are both ruled out of today's game at The Dell through suspension. Hughes is unavailable after being booked five times this season while Lundekvam is missing after being sent off against Tottenham a fortnight ago. England Under-21 striker James Beattie and captain Jason Dodd are in line to replace the duo, but the Norwegian midfielder Trond Egil Soltvedt misses the game against his former side after suffering a knee injury in the 4-0 defeat against Aston Villa in midweek. Winger Stuart Ripley is battling to recover from a calf strain as the Saints look to end a run of three successive defeats.

Coventry are down to the bare bones in defence with four key players missing. David Burrows, Marc Edworthy, Marcus Hall and Richard Shaw all have knee injuries so midfielders Paul Telfer and Steve Froggatt are likely to fill the full-back berths. Up front, teenager Robbie Keane may be partnered by fit-again Noel Whelan, with the former Leeds forward having shaken off the ankle ligament injury that has prevented him from starting a match since August.

SOUTHAMPTON (from): Jones, Tessem, Colleter, Dodd, Richards, Oakley, Kachloul, Ripley, Pahars, Bridge, Le Tissier, Beattie, Benali, Bridge, Boa Morte, Almeida, Moss.

COVENTRY CITY (from):Hedman, Telfer, Breen, Williams, Froggatt, Hadji, McAllister, Palmer, Chippo, Keane, Roussel, Whelan, Konjic, Gavin Strachan, Quinn, Normann, Ogrizovic.

Suspensions: Southampton: Hughes, Lundekvam.

Leading scorers: Southampton: Pahars (7). Coventry: Keane (9).

Referee: J Winter.

Wimbledon v Watford

Last season: No fixture

WIMBLEDON welcome back pounds 7.5m signing John Hartson, who missed the Premiership draw at Middlesbrough last week and Tuesday's victory over Huddersfield that took the Dons into the quarter-finals of the Worthington Cup. The former West Ham striker has finally shrugged off his thigh injury and is likely to partner England Under-21 international Carl Cort in attack. Manager Egil Olsen admits he has several injury worries but expects to have a near full-strength squad to choose from, with defenders Hermann Hreidarsson and Trond Andersen fit again and Robbie Earle fresh after being rested.

Nick Wright returns to the Watford squad for the first time in eight weeks as the Hornets look to end a run of 10 games without a win. Wright played the full 90 minutes for the reserves in midweek as he continues his comeback from a hernia operation. But he is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench as Graham Taylor's side seek only their fourth league win of the season.

WIMBLEDON (from): Sullivan, Cunningham, Thatcher, Blackwell, Andersen, Kimble, Hreidarsson, Roberts, Euell, Earle, Badir, Leaburn, Cort, Gayle, Hughes, Jupp, Francis, Heald, Andresen.

WATFORD (from): Chamberlain, Cox, Williams, Page, Robinson, Palmer, Gravelaine, Ngonge, Miller, Wooter, Johnson, Noel-Williams, Gibbs, Hyde, Smith, Day, Bakalli, Panayi.

Suspensions: None.

Leading scorers: Wimbledon: Cort (8). Watford: Ngonge (4).

Referee: A Wiley.


Derby County v Leeds United

Last season: 2-2

GEORGI KINKLADZE is likely to make his first start for Derby, replacing Avi Nimni, who will be on the bench. Craig Burley is also likely to be given a debut after his pounds 3m move from Celtic. Spencer Prior is in the Rams' squad after his move to Hearts collapsed over personal terms, but Stefan Schnoor is suspended. Lars Bohinen may figure for the first time since September 22 after recovering from a cartilage operation.

Leeds' captain Lucas Radebe returns to the side after missing the last two matches. United's manager, David O'Leary, is still waiting on the fitness of midfielder David Batty after he missed the midweek Uefa Cup match in Bulgaria against Spartak Moscow due to an Achilles injury. Michael Bridges will be fit to play despite limping off in the second half of the first-leg tie in Sofia after taking a knock on the knee. The Premiership leaders will definitely be without David Hopkin after he underwent a groin operation on Thursday.

DERBY COUNTY (from): Poom, Laursen, Carbonari, Prior, Dorigo, Delap, Johnson, Powell, Kinkladze, Burley, Sturridge, Burton, Elliott, Nimni, Christie, Borbokis, Murray, Bohinen, Hoult.

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

Suspension: Derby: Schnoor.

Leading scorers: Derby: Delap (6). Leeds: Bridges (10).

Referee: P Alcock.

Liverpool v Sheffield Wed

Last season: 2-0

Kick-off 4.0 - live on Sky Sports 1

LIVERPOOL'S ROBBIE FOWLER will not be rushed back into the starting line-up after an ankle operation. The England international scored in his third successive reserve game in midweek but Titi Camara has returned to fitness and will partner Michael Owen in attack. Patrik Berger (knee) and Vladimir Smicer (hamstring) will both miss out. Steve Staunton should be back in the squad after a hamstring problem. Steve Gerrard should continue alongside Dietmar Hamann in midfield in place of Jamie Redknapp, who faces a lengthy spell out after a knee operation.

Sheffield Wednesday's Danny Wilson is not optimistic that his defenders Des Walker and Andy Hinchcliffe will be fit. Walker has a thigh problem and Hinchcliffe sustained a calf injury in Tuesday's Worthington Cup defeat at Bolton. Wilson is definitely without Danny Sonner following his sending off in the defeat at West Ham two weeks ago.

LIVERPOOL (from): Westerveld, Song, Hyypia, Henchoz, Matteo, Staunton, Heggem, Hamann, Gerrard, Murphy, Thompson, Owen, Camara, Fowler, Carragher, Friedel, Meijer.

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (from): Pressman, Atherton, Hinchcliffe, Jonk, Emerson, Walker, Sibon, Booth, Cresswell, Rudi, Alexandersson, Nolan, Newsome, Briscoe, Haslam, De Bilde, Hamshaw, Srnicek.

Suspension: Sheffield Wednesday: Sonner.

Leading scorers: Liverpool: Camara (5). Sheffield Wednesday: De Bilde (4).

Referee: P Durkin.

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