Today in the Premier League

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Robin van Persie will miss the visit of Birmingham tomorrow due to flu. Defender Johan Djourou also misses out after picking up a groin strain during the draw with Spurs this week, while Arsène Wenger awaits news on Philippe Senderos. Gilberto or Bacary Sagna could stand in at centre-back.

Aston Villa

Spurs defender Pascal Chimbonda is interested in a move to Villa after speaking of his concerns at Spurs bidding for players of his position. "Would Pascal welcome a move to Aston Villa? Of course," the player's agent Willie McKay said. "He is looking to leave Tottenham and Villa are a big club."

Birmingham City

First team coach Roy Aitken believes the club will benefit from the expected return of Damien Johnson at Arsenal tomorrow. "We know what Damien brings to the team," Aitken said. "It will be nice to have him back." Johnson could play with a protective mask after suffering a skull injury.

Blackburn Rovers

Frankie Fielding signed a two-year contract with the club yesterday before extending his loan at Wycombe until the end of the season. Meanwhile, the club's league match at Aston Villa has been brought forward from 30 to 26 January, as a result of both club's non-involvement in the FA Cup.

Bolton Wanderers

New signing Tamir Cohen admits it will take time for him to adapt to the English game. "There is a massive difference between here and Israel," he said following his debut against Sheffield United last weekend. "The style is very fast and the tackles were strong. It is another step forward in my career. I hope to improve in every department."


The Germany manager Joachim Lowe believes Michael Ballack has benefited from his time at Stamford Bridge. "He has this incredible determination to fight," Lowe said of the midfielder. "He learnt to involve himself in the battle and to play at such a high rhythm. He is going to help the German team to continue their development."

Derby County

Robbie Savage claims Sunderland did not do enough to secure his services. "It's well known that Sunderland put in a bid for me," he said. "I never felt they were too keen. If I was them, I would have gone the whole hog to get me. I'm the type of player who can keep a team in the Premier League."


Tim Howard believes the team can recover from the defeat at Chelsea with a victory over Manchester City tomorrow. "It is going to be an incredible game," the goalkeeper said. "We have a great chance to put the Chelsea result in the past. If we win and get into the top four, it could boost our confidence."


Jimmy Bullard could make a first appearance for the Cottagers in 17 months at West Ham tomorrow. The midfielder has been sidelined since September 2006 with a dislocated knee, but could feature at Upton Park after completing 90 minutes for the reserves against Arsenal this week.


Midfielder Mohamed Sissoko said he is close to securing a transfer to Italian side Juventus. "I'm still a Liverpool player," he said. "But I expect a big announcement in the next few days. My agent, Juve and Liverpool are working on my departure. I haven't signed yet but my move is close."

Manchester City

Sven Goran Eriksson hopes midfielder Michael Johnson will be ready to return to the first team within the next two to three weeks. "Michael has started running outside again," Eriksson said. "It was a concern, but the situation looks better than it did one or two weeks ago."

Manchester United

The Argentina striker Carlos Tevez has had his two-match international ban reduced to one following an appeal. The 23-year-old former West Ham United forward was dismissed for kicking the Colombian defender Ruben Dario Bustos during the first half of a 2-1 defeat last year.


Gareth Southgate has criticised the current trend of firing managers. "I wouldn't want to analyse it too much. I think the whole thing's nuts," he said. "I don't think you'll stop it. It's going to get worse because the hype around everything gets bigger and bigger every year."

Newcastle United

The striker Andy Carroll is looking to impress at St James' Park following a recent loan spell at Preston. "I'm delighted to be back at Newcastle," the 19-year-old forward said. "Now I just want to work my way back towards the first team. Hopefully I can get a game and score a few goals."


David James believes David Nugent could benefit from the departure of a number of Pompey players to the African Nations Cup. The forward scored the winner at Ipswich last week, but has had limited opportunities this season. "David has got to look at it as an opportunity to step in," the goalkeeper said.


The striker Dave Kitson will appear in court on 18 January after being arrested for an alleged drink-driving offence. The 27-year-old was stopped by Thames Valley officers near Reading on Wednesday and has been charged with failing to provide a breath sample for analysis.


Greg Halford admits he has not performed to his potential for the club this season. "I need a run of games," he said. "But the manager wants performances straight away and I haven't really been giving them. I'm out of the team for that reason. I've got to show what I can do in training."

Tottenham Hotspur

The midfielder Jermaine Jenas insists the club won't be intimidated by travelling to Chelsea tomorrow, just three days after facing Arsenal in the League Cup. "We're looking forward to these games, not going into them worried at all," Jenas said. "We're excited by them."

West Ham United

Manager Alan Curbishley could welcome back a number of players from injury for the match with Fulham tomorrow. Lee Bowyer, James Collins and Calum Davenport may all feature while Luis Boa Morte came through a reserve match this week and could face his former side. Julien Faubert could struggle to make the match.

Wigan Athletic

Goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has called on his team-mates to show no sympathy for Derby when the teams meet at Pride Park tomorrow. "We've got to go there and try and get the three points," the 26-year-old said. "That would possibly kill them off. From our point of view hopefully it does. We're not worried about anyone else."