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Bayer Leverkusen are almost free of injury worries for this important game between two clubs fighting for places in Europe.

Dortmund, who pleased their fans with a 2-0 victory over arch-rivals Bayern Munich last weekend, will miss two valued players in suspended wing back Dede and injured midfielder Torsten Frings.

Leverkusen: 1 Butt - 4 Juan, 5 Nowotny, 3 Lucio - 28 Ramelow - 13 Bierofka, 25 Schneider, 19 Babic - 10 Bastürk - 9 Berbatov, 11 Franca

Unavailable: 17 Fritz, 18 Sahin

Dortmund: 26 Warmuz - 7 Reuter, 4 Wörns, 28 Bergdölmo, 15 Jensen - 33 Gambino, 5 Kehl, 6 Conceicao - 10 Rosicky - 9 Koller, 12 Ewerthon

Unavailable: 17 Dede, 11 Herrlich, 22 Amoroso, 8 Frings, 14 Demel, 19 Addo, 21 C. Metzelder, 23 Madouni


Defender Bernd Korzynietz and midfielder Thomas Broich return from suspension for Moenchengladbach, who are not safe yet.

Striker Marko Topic is out injured for Wolfsburg, who bounced back from a lean spell to crush SC Freiburg 4-0 last weekend.

M'gladbach: 1 Stiel - 19 Korzynietz, 15 Pletsch, 7 Strasser, 3 Carnell - 36 Gaede - 8 Ulich, 29 Broich, 21 Hausweiler - 25 Sverkos, 9 Van Lent

Unavailable: 22 Kirch, 30 Maric

Wolfsburg: 29 Jentzsch - 19 Rytter, 5 Schnoor, 33 Franz - 27 Karhan, 6 Thiam, 10 D'Alessandro, 31 Sarpei, 7 Weiser - 9 Klimowicz, 17 Fernando Baiano

Unavailable: 14 Topic, 20 Hrgovic


Hamburg, who have lost any realistic hope of playing in Europe next season, will be without injured defender Nico-Jan Hoogma.

Bottom club Cologne are virtually relegated and have a long injury list

Hamburger: 29 Wächter - 18 Fukal, 4 Reinhardt, 21 Ujfalusi, 6 Wicky - 7 Mahdavikia, 16 Benjamin, 14 Jarolim, 3 Rahn - 10 Barbarez, 9 Romeo

Unavailable: 1 Pieckenhagen, 2 Maltritz,5 Hoogma, 20 Hollerbach , 22 Beinlich , 32 Takahara

1.Fc Koln: 33 Wessels - 12 Schröder, 22 Dogan, 4 Sichone, 3 Voigt - 7 Kringe, 11 Grujic, 6 Sinkala - 8 Scherz, 13 Federico, 36 Podolski

Unavailable: 2 Cullmann, 10 Voronin, 20 Cichon, 21 Schindzielorz , 25 Ebbers


Hanover, who held leaders Werder Bremen to a 0-0 draw last Sunday, are almost at full strength.

A sore knee makes Germany striker Kevin Kuranyi a doubtful starter for VfB Stuttgart, who are chasing a Champions League spot.

Hanover: 25 Ziegler - 6 Cherundolo, 29 Mertesacker, 3 Zuraw - 22 de Guzman, 8 Lala, 5 Dabrowski, 7 Idrissou - 44 Mathis - 9 Christiansen, 13 Brdaric

Unavailable: 20 Simak

Stuttgart: 1 Hildebrand - 21 Lahm, 6 Meira, 5 Bordon, 12 Gerber - 20 Soldo - 7 Meißner, 16 Heldt, 13 Tiffert - 22 Kuranyi, 9 Streller

Unavailable: 15 Hleb, 25 Mutzel, 29 Dangelmayr, 30 Berger, 35 Branco, 37 Stojanov


Midfielder Gernot Plassnegger is suspended for Hansa Rostock, who look set for a mid-table finish.

Defender Anibal Matellan and midfielder Gustavo Varela are out injured for Schalke 04, who are still in the race for UEFA Cup spots.

Hansa: 1Schober - 12 Möhrle, 14 Persson, 20 Hill - 2Tjikuzu, 6 Maul - 7 Rydlewicz, 17 Lantz, 27 Rasmussen - 15 Arvidsson, 9 Max

Unavailable: 28 Plassnegger, 18 Melkam, 22 Hansen, 8 Kientz, 23 Wimmer

Schalke: 1 Rost - 20 Poulsen, 39 Kläsener, 2 Van Kerckhoven, 7 Kobia- shvili - 34 Delura, 9 Altintop, 17 Vermant, 8 Böhme - 14 Asamoah, 11 Sand

Unavailable: 3 Matellan, 5 Kmetsch, 10 Varela, 18 Oude Kamphuis, 16 Djordjevic


Hertha Berlin are without injured defender Dick van Burik for a match between two sides threatened by relegation.

Kaiserslautern, who face a struggle to get a licence for next season because of their financial situation, have several players out injured, notably Germany striker Miroslav Klose

Hertha: 12 Fiedler - 3 Friedrich, 17 Madlung, 14 Simunic, 29 Fathi - 18 Dardai, 19 Schmidt - 16 Pinto, 10 Marcelinho, 20 Neuendorf - 11 Wichniarek

Unavailable: 4 Van Burik , 15 Reina, 21 Hartmann , 24 Rafael

1. FC Kaiserslautern: 1 Wiese - 23 Riedl, 4 Knavs, 14 Wenzel, 28 Malz - 24 Nurmela, 15 Bjelica, 7 Hristov, 20 Dominguez - 19 Altintop, 9 Lokvenc

Unavailable: 2 Lembi, 13 Sforza , 6 Ramzy, 8 Grammozis, 22 Timm, 11 Klose , 5 Hengen, 10 Lincoln


Playmaker Michael Ballack is suspended for Bayern, who are fighting to secure second place and direct access for the Champions League.

This Munich derby is the first game in charge for new TSV 1860 coach Gerald Vanenburg, whose task is to save the club from relegation.

Bayern: 1 Kahn - 20 Salihamidzic, 6 Demichelis, 25 Linke, 3 Lizarazu - 31 Schweinsteiger, 16 Jeremies, 23 Hargreaves, 11 Zé Roberto - 24 Santa Cruz, 10 Makaay

Unavailable: 2 Sagnol, 4 Kuffour, 5 Kovac, 7 Scholl, 13 Ballack , 15 Rau , 21 Zickler, 26 Deisler

1860: 1 Hofmann - 2 Stranzl, 44 Hoffmann, 7 Costa, 5 Saarinen - 23 Görlitz, 13 Cerny, 3 Meyer, 6 Tyce, 8 Shao - 18 Agostino

Unavailable: 11 Lauth, 12 Schwarz, 20 Weissenberger , 26 Pürk, 28 Poschner , 25 Lepoint, 16 Kendrick, 27 Richter, 29 Küfner, 35 Schäfer

Runaway Bundesliga leaders Werder Bremen have looked nervous lately and must regain composure when they visit surprise package VfL Bochum on Sunday (kickoff 1530 GMT).

The northerners are eight points clear of second-placed champions Bayern Munich with five matches left and should capture the title, unless they collapse in the final straight.

Werder have won only one of their last four games but coach Thomas Schaaf is not worried.

"We are not wobbly at all," said Schaaf, who has heard Bayern captain Oliver Kahn suggest Werder might collapse.

Schaaf pointed out that Werder's goal when the season started, which was to win a place in Europe, had already been achieved.

"We are in a wonderful situation because we have already met our own expectations," he said.

To face fifth-placed Bochum, who are on course for a UEFA Cup berth after a surprisingly strong run, Schaaf will miss suspended French defender Valerien Ismael and Turkey midfielder Umit Davala.

Bochum: 1 Van Duijnhoven - 5 Colding, 6 Kalla, 15 Fahrenhorst, 24 Bönig - 8 Zdebel, 20 Stevic - 10 Wosz - 19 Diabang, 16 Hashemian, 21 Buckley

Unavailable: 9 Madsen, 7 Freier

Werder: 1 Reinke - 7 Stalteri, 6 Baumann, 20 Krstajic, 27 Schulz - 8 Lisztes, 15 Lagerblom, 10 Micoud, 4 Ernst - 32 Ailton, 17 Klasnic

Unavailable: 5 Davala, 23 Magnin, 25 Ismael
Everton may have Alan Stubbs back (groin), while David Weir made an impressive comeback in his place at Chelsea last week.

David Unsworth (Achilles) is doubtful but Tony Hibbert (knee), Peter Clarke (ankle) and Kevin Campbell (virus) are all in contention.

Michael Gray is back in the Blackburn squad after a thigh muscle injury.

But Andy Todd is out of the squad and unlikely to figure again after a disagreement with boss Graeme Souness.

Everton (from): Martyn, Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Yobo, Naysmith, Carsley, Gravesen, Watson, Linderoth, Kilbane, Rooney, Radzinski, Jeffers, Campbell, Wright, Nyarko, Hibbert, Unsworth.

Blackburn (from): Friedel, Enckelman, Neill, Johansson, Gray, Emerton, Andresen, Gallagher, Reid, Stead, Cole, Gresko, Short, Amoruso, Flitcroft, Babbel, Douglas, Tugay, Jansen, Yorke.
Fulham skipper Lee Clark (calf) is ruled out for the season after undergoing exploratory surgery.

Facundo Sava (thigh) could be out for four weeks but Zat Knight and Sean Davis are back in the squad after being left out for disciplinary reasons.

Charlton full-back Radostin Kishishev is pushing for a starting place after a back and hamstring injury.

Centre-back Mark Fish is not quite ready to return after having stitches in his chest removed.

Fulham (from): Van der Sar, Crossley, Volz, Goma, Knight, Pearce, Green, Legwinski, Petta, Bocanegra, Davis, Malbranque, Djetou, Boa Morte, McBride, Hayles, Inamoto, Rehman, John. end

Charlton (from): Kiely, Fortune, Perry, Kishishev, Hreidarsson, Powell, Young, Holland, Jensen, Stuart, Konchesky, Johansson, Bartlett, Di Canio, Euell, Cole, Royce
Leicester lock horns with Manchester City on Saturday in what has all the hallmarks of the proverbial six-pointer.

The Foxes have had a torrid April, losing all four games, and time is running out for Micky Adams to mastermind their escape.

City, for their part, come into the game on the back of a six-game winless run and are perilously close to the drop zone.

A point will do little for either side, so there could well be plenty of attacking play on show.

Adams has been in defiant mood all week, saying his side can still extricate themselves from trouble, but he will have to lead his side to victory over The Citizens without the services of Riccardo Scimeca and Lee Morris who have been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Les Ferdinand will look to brush off his niggling problems to spearhead the Leicester attack, but he will have to prove his well-being on the eve of the game.

Kevin Keegan has fitness worries of his own, with Steve McManaman doubtful with an Achilles problem.

Claudio Reyna has returned to full training after shaking off an ankle complaint and the American will look to force his way into the engine room.

Leicester thrashed The Citizens in the return fixture, but Keegan's side extracted their revenge in the FA Cup and all the signals point to a tight affair at The Walkers Stadium on Saturday.

Manchester City's Claudio Reyna is set to return after an ankle injury.

The major selection interest centres on Joey Barton, who left Eastlands before kick-off in disgust after being dropped for the defeat to Southampton.

Man City (from): James, Arason, Distin, Dunne, Jihai, McManaman, Sinclair, Bosvelt, Barton, Reyna, Wright-Phillips, Tarnat, Sibierski, Anelka, Fowler, Macken, Wanchope.
Manchester United's Roy Keane is set to return to the starting line-up after recovering from a hamstring strain.

He seems set to replace Nicky Butt, with Kleberson (knee) and Diego Forlan (Achilles) expected to be available.

Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier has to choose whether to select Emile Heskey as Michael Owen's strike partner, or use Milan Baros from the start.

Danny Murphy - who has twice scored winners at United in the last four years - may return in midfield.

Man Utd (from): Howard, Carroll, G Neville, P Neville, Brown, Silvestre, O'Shea, Fletcher, Butt, Scholes, Ronaldo, Keane, Djemba-Djemba, Giggs, Saha, Van Nistelrooy, Kleberson, Solskjaer, Forlan, Bellion.

Liverpool (from): Dudek, Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Hamann, Riise, Murphy, Gerrard, Kewell, Owen, Heskey, Baros, Pongolle, Biscan, Traore, Cheyrou, Diouf, Luzi.
Middlesbrough could again be without Brazilian midfielder Doriva, who is struggling with a groin problem.

Full-back Stuart Parnaby should be available after recovering from a hamstring problem.

Aston Villa hope to see the return of Juan Pablo Angel, who has missed the last three games with a knee injury.

They also hope to have Gavin McCann (ankle) and Ronny Johnsen (gashed knee) back. Lee Hendrie continues his two-match suspension.

Aston Villa (from): Sorensen, De la Cruz, Mellberg, Johnsen, Samuel, Solano, Barry, McCann, Hitzlsperger, Vassell, Angel, Dublin, Whittingham, Cooke, L Moore, Ridgewell, Postma.
Middlesbrough (from): Schwarzer, Jones, Mills, Parnaby, Quedrue, Ehiogu, Riggott, Cooper, Mendieta, Zenden, Boateng, Juninho, Downing, Greening, Maccarone, Ricketts, Nemeth, Job.
Southampton's Michael Svensson (calf strain) is again ruled out. Marian Pahars will continue in midfield.

Kevin Phillips and James Beattie continue in attack while Jason Dodd and Matthew Oakley are out for the season with knee injuries.

Bolton manager Sam Allardyce is set to name an unchanged side.

Defender Nicky Hunt is expected to retain his place after suffering a tight hamstring in the defeat of Spurs but he has since returned to training.

Southampton (from): Niemi, Telfer, Lundekvam, Higginbotham, Le Saux, Prutton, Delap, Folly, Pahars, Beattie, Phillips, Fernandes, Hall, A.Svensson, Ormerod, Crainey, McCann, Kenton, Smith.

Bolton (from): Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Thome, N'Gotty, Charlton, Giannakopoulos, Campo, Okocha, Nolan, Djorkaeff, Pedersen, Davies, Poole, Barness, Frandsen, Moreno, Howey, Ba.
Sunday sees a massive game in the relegation scrap at the foot of The Premiership as Leeds and Portsmouth do battle at Elland Road.

Eddie Gray's side know that a defeat would leave them in grave danger of relegation while a resurgent Pompey side would be well on the way to safety with three points.

Leeds go into the game on the back of a 5-0 humbling at Highbury against Arsenal and face a Portsmouth side that are unbeaten in their last five games, winning four of them.

Harry Redknapp's boys will be on a high after beating Manchester United and will at least be looking to maintain their five-point advantage over the hosts.

Gray's men are two points behind Manchester City and the boss will be looking for a fast start in the Sunday morning kick-off.

Leeds will be without top scorer Mark Viduka for the match, as the big Australian is serving a suspension for being sent off against Leicester.

Portsmouth still have on-loan striker Tresor Lomana Lua Lua available despite Newcastle's current injury plight, and he may play a part at some stage of the proceedings.

Leeds had a torrid time in the reverse fixture, with Pompey inflicting a humiliating 6-1 defeat on the West Yorkshire side in what proved to be Peter Reid's last game as a manger.

Another win would haul Pompey to the 40-point mark but they have just one win away from home all season and will have to do better in this basement scrap

Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp is likely to restore Eyal Berkovic to the team after withdrawing him at half-time for the 1-0 win over Manchester United.

That would mean Nigel Quashie returning to the bench with Teddy Sheringham. Petri Pasanen and Ivica Mornar are both struggling with ankle injuries.

Portsmouth (from): Hislop; Primus, de Zeeuw, Pasanen, Stefanovic, Berkovic, Smertin, Taylor, Stone, Faye, Yakubu, LuaLua, Sheringham, Quashie, Harper, Hughes, Curtis, Mornar, Wapenaar.
Birmingham are set to be without midfielder David Dunn, who has failed to recover from his hamstring strain.

They are without Stan Lazaridis (groin), Martin Grainger (knee), Darren Purse (ankle) and Darren Carter (hernia) but Robbie Savage (ankle) is set to play.

Wolves right-back Mark Clyde is hoping to shake off a calf strain, which meant he had to go off during the win over Middlesbrough last weekend.

If Clyde is ruled out veteran left-back Denis Irwin will be recalled.

Birmingham (from): Maik Taylor, Martin Taylor, Cunningham, Upson, Clapham, Johnson, Clemence, Savage, Hughes, Forssell, Morrison, Cisse, John, Barrowman, Motteram, Tebily, Bennett.

Wolves (from): Jones, Irwin, Clyde, Butler, Okoronkwo, Naylor, Newton, Ince, Rae, Kennedy, Cort, Camara, Iversen, Miller, Cameron, Ganea, Craddock, Gudjonsson, Luzhny, Silas, Oakes.
Newcastle are likely to be without trio Craig Bellamy, Keiron Dyer and Lee Bowyer, who have hamstring problems.

Also doubtful are Jermaine Jenas (thigh)and Shola Ameobi (thigh), while Michael Bridges will hope for a return.

Chelsea's Adrian Mutu (knee) and Scott Parker (hamstring) are out, while John Terry (ankle) is a doubt.

Damien Duff and William Gallas are ill and Celestine Babayaro (hamstring) is struggling. Juan Sebastian Veron is being rested.

Newcastle (from): Given, Harper, Hughes, Bernard, Woodgate, O'Brien, Bramble, Elliott, Taylor, Speed, Robert, Bowyer, Ambrose, Viana, Orr, Shearer, Ameobi, Bridges, Chopra.

Chelsea (from): Ambrosio, Terry, Desailly, Melchiot, Bridge, Lampard, Makelele, Geremi, Gronkjaer, Huth, Babayaro, Cole, Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen, Crespo, Oliveira, Sullivan.
Tottenham may turn to Dean Richards and Darren Anderton, who have both been suffering from Achilles problems.

Captain and right-back Stephen Carr serves the second match of his three-game suspension.

Arsenal full-back Ashley Cole (ankle) and midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg (hand) are back in contention for recalls.

Apart from reserve team keeper Stuart Taylor (shoulder), Pascal Cygan is now the only Highbury first-team squad member on the injury list.

Tottenham (from): Keller, Kelly, Gardner, Doherty, Taricco, Ziege, Brown, Redknapp, Kanoute, Defoe, Keane, Davies, Dalmat, Jackson, Marney, Bunjevcevic, King, Postiga, Richards, Ricketts, Anderton, Mabizela, Hirschfield.

Arsenal (from): Lehmann, Shaaban, Stack, Lauren, Toure, Campbell, Keown, Cole, Clichy, Vieira, Gilberto, Edu, Parlour, Ljungberg, Pires, Wiltord, Reyes, Henry, Bergkamp, Kanu, Aliadiere.
Watford v Norwich

Newly-promoted Norwich have no fresh injury worries ahead of the trip to Watford.

Nigel Worthington's men clinched promotion on Wednesday without kicking a ball as Crystal Palace romped to a 3-0 victory against Sunderland - the only team who could have caught the Canaries.

The First Division championship is now City's main priority, with long-term cruciate ligament injury victim Zema Abbey their only absentee.

Watford manager Ray Lewington hopes to welcome back Heidar Helguson for the visit of the Canaries.

The Icelandic striker missed the win over Millwall with knee ligament trouble but a scan revealed no serious damage.

Danny Webber is in contention after proving his fitness in the reserves following a shoulder injury.

But skipper Neil Cox is unlikely to return from his back injury and Jack Smith's ankle problem has yet to heal.
West Brom v Bradford
West Brom manager Gary Megson will make a late decision on the fitness of central defender Darren Moore ahead of the clash with Bradford.

The defender was substituted after 30 minutes of the win over Sunderland last week with a hamstring injury.

Geoff Horsfield could be available having returned to training on Thursday after resting an ankle injury.

And influential midfielder Andy Johnson is also expected start despite being excused training this week following a flare-up of a groin problem.

Bradford youngster Kevin Sanasy could be handed his first senior start for the trip to The Hawthorns.

The striker came off the bench to score for the Bantams in last weekend's defeat by Wimbledon, which finally sealed their relegation from the First Division.

Tom Penford and Danny Forrest are also in line for a place in the starting XI after impressing as substitutes last weekend.

However, Michael Branch is unavailable due to a one-match suspension and doubts also remain over the fitness of Wayne Jacobs, who has been suffering from a hamstring injury.
Millwall v Reading
Millwall will be without key midfielder Tim Cahill for the clash with fellow play-off hopefuls Reading.

The Australia international begins a two-match ban for his red card against Derby.

Fellow midfielder Andy Roberts is also struggling with a knee injury and looks set to miss out. Youngster Marvin Elliott is likely to return to the starting line-up in his absence.

Danny Dichio is available before his three-match ban for a red card against Nottingham Forest kicks in.

There are problems in midfield for Saturday's visitors Reading.

Midfieldr Paul Brooker, who is on loan from Leicester, is struggling to overcome an Achilles injury.

Midfielder Andy Hughes should shake off a knock in time to play but goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, defender Nicky Shorey, midfielder Kevin Watson and striker Nicky Forster are definitely out along with Dean Gordon after a scan on his foot injury revealed a stress fracture .

Reserve goalkeeper Jamie Young will be on the bench after gaining permission to join England's Under-19 squad late on Saturday, before they depart for Slovenia the following day.
Wigan v Sunderland
Sunderland travel to promotion-chasing rivals Wigan on the back of three straight defeats but boosted by the possible return of three key players.

The faltering Black Cats hope to have Carl Robinson back for the trip to Lancashire after the on-loan midfielder missed Wednesday's defeat at Crystal Palace.

Skipper George McCartney also missed out on the midweek loss, but could return to the squad after injury along with Stephen Wright.

Mick McCarthy's side have failed to score in the past three games but Robinson is confident they can bounce back at the JJB Stadium, ahead of the all-important play-off matches.

He said: "We want to win all our remaining games - it's not a case of being content with two more victories and stumbling over the line, we want to go into the play-offs in good form."

Wigan manager Paul Jewell has no fresh injury problems to contend with ahead of Saturday's televised match.

Magno Silva Vieira returned from injury in the reserves' 2-2 draw with Oldham in midweek but is unlikely to start against Sunderland.

Gary Teale is pushing for a starting place after returning to full fitness, while Matt Jackson (Achilles) and Mike Flynn (foot) remain sidelined.

Jason De Vos has been struggling with a niggling hip injury but will be fit face the Black Cats.
Stoke v West Ham
Michael Carrick and Matthew Etherington remain doubtful for West Ham's trip to Stoke City.

Carrick is struggling with a hamstring strain while Etherington has a groin problem and neither have trained fully this week.

Tomas Repka serves the second of three-match ban while Nigel Reo-Coker completes his two-match ban.

But midfielder Steve Lomas is fit to join the squad after shaking off recent hamstring problems.

Stoke goalkeeper Ed De Goey is back in contention for a starting place for Saturday's clash.

The Dutchman has missed the Potters' recent outings with concussion, but was named on the bench last weekend and could make an appearance at the Britannia Stadium.

Ade Akinbiyi faces a late fitness test on a troublesome back, while Lewis Neal remains sidelined with an ankle problem.

However, there is better news for striker Chris Greenacre, who is on the road to recovery following a knee ligament injury.
Ipswich v Notts Forest
Ipswich look like being without midfielder Tommy Miller for the home clash with Nottingham Forest.

Miller, who has scored 11 goals this season, limped out of the 2-1 victory at Gillingham last week with a hamstring injury and has not trained since.

Manager Joe Royle admitted Miller has a less than 50-50 chance of facing Forest and insisted the player would not be risked unless there was a rapid improvement ahead of the kick-off.

Royle could plug the gap by giving a rare start to Martijn Reuser, who scored one and made the winner for Darren Bent after replacing Miller at the Priestfield Stadium, while Chris Bart-Williams is another contender.

There is likely to be a recall in attack for 17-year-old striker Dean Bowditch, who was on target for the reserves in midweek.

Meanwhile, Nottingham Forest manager Joe Kinnear has been boosted by the return to fitness of veteran defender Des Walker.

Walker has missed Forest's last six games with a hamstring injury picked up during the 1-1 draw against Burnley in March.

But right-back Matthieu Louis-Jean continues to be sidelined by a thigh injury and striker Gareth Taylor is not expected back before the end of the season after undergoing surgery on a knee cartilage problem.

Midfielder Michael Stewart, on loan from Manchester United until the end of the season, continues to be ruled out by a toe injury, and goalkeeper Darren Ward is another who will miss the remainder of the season after an operation on his spine.
Crystal Palace v Crewe
Crystal Palace boss Iain Dowie is unlikely to make any changes to his winning line-up against Crewe.

The Eagles went seventh in Division One with a 3-0 win over Sunderland and are unbeaten in five games.

Michael Hughes played with a minor knock against the Black Cats but is fit to continue.

Mikele Leigertwood keeps his place in the heart of defence now that Palace have abandoned a bid for Fulham's Mark Hudson.

The only absentee remains Darren Powell, who has yet to recover from a thigh muscle injury.

Crewe manager Dario Gradi is expecting Dave Brammer and David Vaughan to play some part in the game at Gresty Road.

The midfielders have slight knee injuries but should be declared fit for the game.

The only two absentees for the game are goalkeeper Clayton Ince (thigh) and defender Anthony Tonkin (ankle).

Gradi is hoping Ince will return to training within the next week.
Walsall v Sheff Utd
Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the vital trip to Walsall.

Striker Steve Kabba played 45 minutes of the reserves' 2-1 defeat against Tranmere on Wednesday night but is unlikely to feature.

Young full-back Simon Francis could return to the squad after missing the 1-0 defeat against Stoke last weekend with a head injury.

Ashley Ward remains sidelined with the knee injury he suffered in the FA Cup defeat against Sunderland.

There is not such good news for temporary Walsall player-boss Paul Merson is sweating on the fitness of goalkeeper Jim Walker.

Walker aggravated a groin injury during last week's 5-0 thrashing at Norwich.

Merson said: "We're waiting to see how he is and that could be a big, big factor for us but it didn't help him last weekend when people kept passing him the ball while his leg was just about dropping off."

However Merson has been boosted by the return of Ian Roper, who missed the last two games against Gillingham and the Canaries with a knee injury.

Versatile midfielder Darren Wrack is back in training after recovery from an Achilles tendon injury but is unlikely to feature against the Blades.
Burnley v Derby
Burnley manager Stan Ternent again has a crippling injury list to contend with ahead of his side's relegation clash with Derby.

Dean West (abductor strain) and Tony Grant (knee) are definitely ruled out, while Ian Moore (knee) and Neil Wood (knee) are doubtful.

Dele Adebola has been struggling with a stomach strain but should make the bench, while Richard Chaplow (thigh) and Paul Weller (hamstring) will both continue to play with slight injuries.

Derby manager George Burley could find himself short of defensive numbers ahead of Saturday's important relegation battle.

Left-back Jamie Vincent continues to be troubled by a thigh strain and is rated as being very doubtful while Jeff Kenna's ankle injury has ruled the right-back out of training this week.

Should they both miss the trip to Lancashire, Richard Jackson is again expected to fill in at left-back with Tom Huddlestone on the opposite flank.

Captain Ian Taylor's knee injury has subsided and the central midfielder ought to be passed fit while Brazilian striker Junior and German winger Marco Reich should also play a part after both recovered from hamstring injuries.

But although Dave Walton has recovered from a thigh injury, the central defender's lack of match fitness is likely to rule him out of contention.
Preston v Cardiff
Preston manager Craig Brown has a mounting injury list to contend with as his side prepare to face Cardiff at Deepdale.

Eddie Lewis (hernia), Claude Davis (thigh) and Lee Briscoe (back) are all doubts.

Brown will definitely be without Rob Edwards, who is still struggling with a hamstring injury, and Andrew Lonergan (broken hand) as his side attempt to return to winning ways after the 5-1 defeat at Derby last weekend.

"We still have a lot of injuries even though we've had a few back," Brown said. "We can't do any worse than last week so we'll be hoping to bounce back."

Cardiff will hand full-back Chris Barker a rare run-out when he deputises for suspended skipper Tony Vidmar on Saturday.

And striker Andy Campbell could be rewarded with a place in the starting line-up after coming on and scoring in the 2-0 home win over Burnley last Saturday.

Barker's place on the bench will probably go to Wales defender Rhys Weston, who has recently played for the reserves after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Manager Lennie Lawrence must decide between Campbell or Alan Lee, who has gone through a lean time in front of goal lately.
Coventry v Rotherham
Phil Gilchrist is the only injury concern as struggling Rotherham prepare for their trip to Coventry.

Gilchrist sustained a knee problem last weekend and, although he has resumed light training, the on-loan defender will undergo a late fitness test.

Paul Hurst is waiting in the wings should Gilchrist fail to shrug off the injury.

Coventry manager Eric Black is troubled by fitness concerns over forwards Julian Joachim and Gary McSheffrey ahead of Saturday's Highfield Road clash.

Joachim, who has a problem with a pectoral muscle, needed a painkilling injection to play in last weekend's 2-0 reverse at West Ham and has been excused training all week.

Black is also expected to wait until the last moment before deciding whether to include hip injury victim McSheffrey.

Versatile defender Steve Staunton (knee) is expected to come into the reckoning, but Craig Pead is suspended.
Wimbledon v Gillingham
Ben Chorley returns from suspension for Wimbledon's home clash with Gillingham and should come straight back into the starting line-up.

Chorley will be recalled in midfield alongside Gary Smith, whose loan has been extended until the end of the season by Middlesbrough.

Defender Mark Williams returned to training after a virus this week and is in contention.

Jermaine Darlington will have a late fitness test on his injured thigh, while goalkeeper Scott Bevan is doubtful with his own thigh problem.

Lee Worgan is back in the squad as cover after being recalled from his spell with Wycombe.

Wimbledon may already be relegated but the Gills travel to Milton Keynes still battling for their Nationwide One lives.

Mark Saunders played in the reserves' 3-0 win over Southend and comes into contention.

Gary Wales is also back in training and could be in the frame for a return after shaking off a knee ligament problem
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Preview: Peterborough v Bournemouth

Peterborough manager Barry Fry faces a selection dilemma at the back ahead of the clash with Bournemouth.

Sagi Burton (hamstring) and Simon Rea (knee) are definitely out while Mark Arber is a major doubt after suffering with illness all week.

Steve Jenkins and Andy Legg are set to line up alongside Guy Branston and Tom Williams, who should play despite an Achilles problem.

In attack Fry will choose from Andy Clarke, Richard Logan, Clive Platt and Calum Willock.

Bournemouth manager Sean O'Driscoll could welcome Steve Fletcher back into the Cherries' forward-line after a recent knee injury.

Garreth O'Connor is also pushing for a recall to the starting line-up following his goal for the reserves in midweek.
Preview: Bury v Bristol Rovers

Bury boss Graham Barrow is faced with a mounting injury list as his Shakers side prepare to take on Bristol Rovers at Gigg Lane.

Danny Swailes has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a leg injury, and Gareth Seddon (thigh), David Flitcroft (hamstring), Matt Barrass (thigh) and Harpal Singh (thigh) are all doubts for the clash with the Pirates.

Lee Unsworth (knee) comes into contention after completing 70 minutes for the reserves in midweek and Simon Whaley may also be drafted in.

Bristol Rovers caretaker bosses Russell Osman and Kevan Broadhurst are hoping to have Danny Williams available.

The midfielder has missed Rovers last two matches with a back problem but is close to a return.

Kevin Austin starts a four-match ban after his sending-off in the 2-1 home defeat by Doncaster Rovers
Primera Liga matches, April 24-25
Fri 23 April, 2004 10:14

By Simon Baskett

MADRID, April 23 (Reuters) - Barcelona forward Ronaldinho will get the chance to confirm his status as the most exciting player in the Primera Liga when he takes part in his first league clash against arch-rivals Real Madrid on Sunday (kickoff 1730 GMT).

The Brazilian moved to Barcelona at the start of the season after David Beckham rejected an offer to join the Catalans, but nine months on Barca fans must be thinking they hit the jackpot by getting the club's second-choice signing.

He may not command the same sort of media attention as Beckham, but Ronaldinho has put the England captain in the shade with his performances on the pitch.

Ronaldinho, 24, has set the pulses of football fans all over the country racing with his sublime skill and spectacular goals.

The World Cup winner missed December's match when Real beat Barca at the Nou Camp for the first time in the league in 20 years but is cautiously optimistic his side can claim their first victory at the Bernabeu since November 1997.

"They are the favourites, because they are above us in the standings, but I think we can go there with a real chance of victory," he said earlier this week.

"We know that it is going to be very difficult for us to win the league, but there are still plenty of games left and a lot to fight for."

A 15-match unbeaten run has put Barca third in the table, seven points behind Real and leaders Valencia with five games to go. A win at the Bernabeu would give the leading duo something to think about.

Real have Ronaldo back after a thigh injury but with Francisco Pavon suspended and fellow centre back Alvaro Mejia nursing a leg injury, coach Carlos Queiroz may be forced to drop Ivan Helguera into the back four and leave Beckham more exposed in midfield.

Barca are likely to be at full strength with defender Carles Puyol appearing to have shaken off a minor leg injury.

Other matches being played this weekend (standings in brackets; kickoff times 1530 GMT unless stated):



Espanyol gave themselves a fighting chance of avoiding the drop with a determined 3-1 win at Osasuna last week, but they need to repeat the trick if they are to haul themselves out trouble.

Atletico, who also need the win if they are to rejoin the hunt for a UEFA Cup place, welcome back leading scorer Fernando Torres from suspension.

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Depor effectively waved goodbye to their slim chances of taking the title with a 1-1 draw at Valladolid last weekend. They had a tough time in their goalless draw against Porto in the Champions League and now face another hard match.

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Although much of the attention is focused on the Real-Barca clash, this match could have an bigger influence on deciding the destination of the title.

Valencia hung on to the leadership by the skin of their teeth when they came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at home to Real Sociedad and they face a daunting away trip against fifth-placed Athletic who thumped Zaragoza 4-0 last week.

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Celta claimed their first win in nine games at Albacete, but may have to do without influential midfielder Alexander Mostovoi, who is suffering from 'flu, as well as Brazilian defender Silvinho who is suspended.

UEFA Cup hopefuls Osasuna will be without injured Australian striker John Aloisi.

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Defeat for either side could make for a very nervous run-in to the end of the season. Racing have Israeli forward Yossi Benayoun back fit as they look for their first win in six outings.

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Both sides will want a strong finish to make up for what have been deeply disappointing campaigns. Sociedad gave leaders Valencia plenty of problems last week and should do the same for the under-performing Andalucians.

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Zaragoza coach Victor Munoz will need to remodel his side after four of his key players were handed bans following last week's 4-0 defeat at Bilbao. Missing centre backs Gabriel Milito and Alvaro, his defence will have their work cut out to shackle in-form Sevilla striker Julio Baptista who cracked in four goals in his side's 5-2 victory over Racing.

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Villarreal continued their impressive progress in the UEFA Cup with a 0-0 draw at home to regional rivals Valencia on Thursday and they should have little problem against relegated Murcia.

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A tense encounter in prospect between two sides who have been dragged into the relegation dog-fight in recent weeks. Mallorca, who have not won in five, are now only two points above the drop zone while Valladolid are only one above them after their 1-1 draw at Deportivo.
Serie A matches, April 25
Fri 23 April, 2004 13:37

By James Eve

ROME, April 23 (Reuters) - Leaders AC Milan can clinch the Serie A title on Sunday but it would need second-placed AS Roma to fail to beat struggling Empoli at home and Milan to win a tricky game at Udinese.

Attention for the moment may focus more on Italy's fourth and final Champions League berth which is not the only thing at stake when Inter Milan host Lazio at the San Siro stadium on Sunday (kickoff 1300 GMT).

With Inter fourth in the league on 52 points and Lazio a point behind in fifth, the race to qualify for Europe's top club competition seems set to go to the wire, but the match also promises to have an impact on the futures of both coaches.

Inter coach Alberto Zaccheroni has been charged with guiding his team to the Champions League as the minimum requirement of this season.

His Lazio counterpart Roberto Mancini, is among the men tipped by Italian media to succeed him should he fail.

Zaccheroni's recent spat with Christian Vieri, prompted by the striker's refusal to accept a place on the bench during last weekend's 4-2 win over Bologna, showed tensions in his squad.

Vieri could be dropped again in favour of a strike partnership of Adriano and Obafemi Martins.

Lazio arrive on the back of a 1-1 midweek draw in the replayed Rome derby which dealt a blow to second-placed AS Roma's title hopes but could leave its mark in terms of fatigue.

More serious problems for Mancini are the suspension of in-form midfielder Fabio Liverani and thigh injuries to defenders Fernando Couto and Jaap Stam.

Other matches on Sunday (league positions in parentheses, kickoffs 1300 GMT):


Ancona have been playing with more spirit since being relegated earlier this month, defeating Bologna and pushing Lazio hard in their last two matches.

Chievo have not won a game since a 2-0 victory over Perugia in mid-February.

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BOLOGNA (9) v SIENA (12)

Bologna will have to improve on their record of just one point in their last three matches.

The visitors start without suspended midfielder Simone Vergassola.

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Perugia president Luciano Gaucci has threatened to withdraw his team from this fixture in protest at what he sees at biased refereeing.

Should they turn up, Perugia will have a tough task to beat a Brescia side reinforced by the return of leading striker Andrea Caracciolo from suspension.

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Juventus continue their challenge for second spot and an automatic place in the first round of next season's Champions League without defender Paolo Montero and midfielder Alessio Tacchinardi, who are injured.

Lecce's impressive 2-1 win over Udinese last weekend boosted their chances of avoiding the drop and they have a full-strength side for the game against the Italian champions.

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Sampdoria are without suspended defenders Giulio Falcone and Aimo Diana as they pursue a UEFA Cup berth.

Modena's 1-0 loss to AS Roma last weekend left them stranded in the relegation zone, but the return to the starting line-up of classy French striker Diomansy Kamara should give an extra dimension to their attack.

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REGGINA (14) v PARMA (6)

Parma will be hoping for a draw in Sunday's game between Inter Milan and Lazio as they try to qualify for next season's Champions League.

Reggina striker Emiliano Bonazzoli is out with a knee injury, but should be replaced by David Di Michele, who returns from suspension.

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AS ROMA (2) v EMPOLI (16)

AS Roma's 1-1 draw with city rivals Lazio midweek left them eight points adrift of leaders AC Milan with four games remaining and in need of a win against Empoli to maintain their faltering title challenge.

The relegation-threatened Tuscan side are weakened by the absences of defender Sanchez Cribari, midfielder Vincenzo Grella and striker Massimiliano Cappellini, who are suspended.

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With their 2-1 victory at the San Siro in December, Udinese remain the only team to have beaten Milan in Serie A this season.

Milan, however, go into the match knowing that they have one hand on the title. If they win and Roma fail to beat Empoli, they will be crowned champions.
(Ananova, BBC, Kicker, Sporting Life, Sky-Sport, Reuters, NewsNow)


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