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Barcelona v Bayer Leverkusen

Barcelona coach Radomir Antic has a series of injury worries as his side look to clinch their place in the last eight of the Champions League.

Luis Enrique, who had only just returned from a four-month lay off, is the latest addition to a growing injury list after he tore a leg muscle during Saturday's 1-1 draw against Valladolid.

Mendieta is ready to slot into the midfield

Dutch international midfielder Philip Cocu, defender Carles Puyol and reserve striker Dani are also out of action through injury, while midfielder Thiago Motta is doubtful with a suspected groin strain.

Swedish defender Patrik Andersson could make his first start in over a year.

Argentine playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme should feature, while Gaizka Mendieta is likely to slot into midfield if Motta fails a late fitness test.

Leverkusen are already eliminated and are focused on their battle against relegation from the Bundesliga.

Coach Thomas Hoerster will be without defensive midfielder Carsten Ramelow (heel) and striker Oliver Neuville (back).

Brazilian defender Juan is being rested.

Barcelona (probable): Bonano, Gabri, De Boer, Andersson, Reiziger, Mendieta, Xavi, Overmars, Riquelme, Kluivert, Saviola.

Bayer Leverkusen (probable): Butt, Balitsch, Zivkovic, Cris, Ojigwe, Schneider, Kaluzny, Basturk, Bierofka, Franca, Berbatov.
Bellamy boost for Newcastle

Inter Milan coach Hector Cuper is struggling to find a player to partner Christian Vieri in attack at the San Siro.

Uruguayan striker Alvaro Recoba, who scored twice in Inter's 2-1 win over Bologna at the weekend, is serving the second of a three-match suspension.

Bellamy is back for Newcastle

Argentines Hernan Crespo and Gabriel Batistuta are injured and ineligible respectively.

In their absence Cuper is expected to move Turkish midfielder Emre Belozoglu to a position just behind Vieri.

Ivan Cordoba should take the place of central defender Marco Materazzi, who suffered a thigh injury during the game against Bologna.

Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given is expected to retain his place in the starting line-up despite dislocating a finger in training.

Steve Harper and 17-year-old Adam Bartlett are standing by as the Irishman attempts to prove his fitness.

Craig Bellamy returns to European action after serving a three-match ban.

Gary Speed (ankle) and Nolberto Solano and Hugo Viana (both virus) are also hoping to be available.

New signing Jonathan Woodgate is ineligible and Andy O'Brien is likely to get the nod alongside Titus Bramble in central defence.

Inter Milan (probable): Toldo, Zanetti, Cannavaro, Cordoba, Coco, Buruk, Di Biagio, Zanetti, Conceicao, Emre, Vieri.

Newcastle (from): Given, Harper, Bartlett, Griffin, Hughes, Bernard, Bramble, O'Brien, Caldwell, Dabizas, Speed, Dyer, Robert, Solano, Jenas, Viana, Acuna, Kerr, Shearer, Bellamy, Ameobi, LuaLua.
Ajax v Valencia

Ajax striker Rafael van der Vaart, returns to partner Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front.

Van der Vaart is one of Holland's rising stars

Fellow striker Ahmed 'Mido' Hossam has been banished to the reserves.

But the Egyptian is awaiting Fifa approval on a possible loan move to Spanish club Celta Vigo.

Van der Vaart showed his scoring talent last Saturday by scoring twice on his league return after a three-month absence in a 5-0 win over lowly Zwolle.

US defender John O'Brien is also back from injury and will play on the left behind Brazilian Maxwell.

Valencia's veteran Italian defender Amedeo Carboni is likely to return to replace the injured Fabio Aurelio at left back.

Francisco Rufete should slot into the midfield to replace the suspended Miguel Angel Angulo.

Argentine playmaker Pablo Aimar came through unscathed in the weekend 1-0 league defeat against Atletico Madrid.

And Valencia will look to him to provide the spark that was missing during the 3-0 defeat to Roma.

Norwegian striker John Carew may just get the nod over the more agile Mista in attack.

Ajax (probable): Lobont, Trabelsi, Chivu, Pasanen, O'Brien, de Jong, Galasek, Pienaar, Maxwell, Van der Vaart, Ibrahimovic.

Valencia (probable): Canizares, Reveillere, Pellegrino, Ayala, Carboni, Rufete, Baraja, Albelda, Vicente, Aimar, Carew or Mista.
Wenger sees injuries pile up

Henry (left) is struggling to be fit to face Roma
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is hoping striker Thierry Henry will recover from injury in time for Tuesday's Champions League game with Roma.

But even if Henry shakes off the calf problem he picked up in Saturday's 2-2 FA Cup draw with Chelsea, Wenger still has concerns over his two first-choice centre-backs.

Martin Keown (calf) and Sol Campbell (Achilles) have developed slight knocks and the Gunners boss has Igors Stepanovs and Pascal Cygan standing by.

At least Wenger will have been encouraged by Henry coming through a training session on Monday.

"His calf cramped up, so he is a big doubt for Tuesday night," said Wenger before the session.

"Thierry is so physically strong, he has a very clean life, so he usually recovers very quickly.

"I think at the moment it's 50-50. He's not out of it just yet."

Fellow striker Dennis Bergkamp was rested for the cup tie to get him fully fit to face Roma after calf and ankle injuries.

And he is likely to partner Francis Jeffers, with Nwankwo Kanu on the bench.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst will again play at left-back in the absence of Ashley Cole, who is out for six weeks following a double hernia operation.

Wenger is also poised to recall Robert Pires and Brazilian midfielder Gilberto Silva to the starting line-up while 22-year-old Stuart Taylor takes over as deputy goalkeeper on the bench with French signing Guillaume Warmuz ineligible.

Roma striker Antonio Cassano is expected to get the nod ahead of Vincenzo Montella and will start up front alongside Francesco Totti.

Cassano scored a last-gasp equaliser in the Rome derby at the weekend after coming on as a second-half substitute.

Italian international midfielder Damiano Tommasi replaces Olivier Dacourt, who is ineligible having played for Leeds in Europe earlier this season.

Brazilian defender Aldair stands in for Jonathan Zebina (thigh strain).

An Arsenal win coupled with an Ajax triumph over Valencia in Amsterdam will put both the English and Dutch clubs into the quarter finals.

Arsenal (probable): Seaman, Lauren, Campbell, Keown, Van Bronckhorst, Wiltord, Gilberto, Vieira, Pires, Henry, Bergkamp.

Roma (probable): Pelizzoli, Panucci, Samuel, Aldair, Candela, Cafu, Emerson, Tommasi, Lima, Cassano, Totti.
Gillingham v Wimbledon

Nationwide Division One, March 11

Gillingham defender Nayron Nosworthy is suspended for their home clash against Wimbledon.

Nosworthy was booked for the fifth time this season during the Gills' recent win against Norwich and now serves a one-match ban.

Player-manager Andy Hessenthaler is available after a two-game ban for collecting 10 yellow cards, and goes straight into the squad but defender Barry Ashby is "touch-and-go" as he struggles with a hamstring problem.

Wimbledon duo Nigel Reo-Coker and Alex Tapp are set to start alongside each other in midfield after signing new contracts with the club.

Moritz Volz keeps his place in the Dons side after agreeing to extend his loan spell by a month from Arsenal.

David Connolly should continue up front after returning from a hamstring injury to score the opener in the 2-2 draw at Highfield Road.
Crystal Palace v Ipswich Town

Division One, March 11 2003

Crystal Palace boss Trevor Francis is aiming to get his team's failing play-off bid back on track against Ipswich.

Top scorer Andrew Johnson (ligaments) is rated doubtful, while strike partner Dele Adebola (groin) has already been ruled out.

Midfielder Aki Riihilahti is still nursing a thigh injury and will be out of action for a fortnight.

But Tommy Black and Dougie Freedman are both pushing for a starting place alongside loan striker Noel Whelan after substitute appearances at Bradford.

Ipswich are sweating on the fitness of midfielder Tommy Miller after he limped out of Saturday's goalless draw with Stoke with a knee problem.

Defender Hermann Hreidarsson left the field on a stretcher against the Potters after sustaining a serious knee injury, and faces three weeks out.
Brentford v Colchester United

Brentford manager Wally Downes has a host of injuries to contend with for the clash with Colchester.

Ibrahima Sonko missed the defeat to Wycombe on Saturday with a hamstring injury and is not expected to return in time, while Leo Roget could be sidelined for up to a month with an ankle ligament injury.

Stephen Evans (Achilles), Jamie Fullarton (leg) and Stephen Hunt (ankle) all remain one week away from a first-team recall and will also miss out.

Colchester are hopeful on-loan striker Gareth Williams will recover from a calf strain in time for the trip to Griffin Park.

Keeper Simon Brown was taken off with a groin problem during the clash with Oldham and faces a spell on the sidelines.

Adrian Coote may return from a lower leg problem, but Joe Dunne, Gavin Johnson, Mark Warren and Kevin Rapley remain long-term casualties.
Rochdale v Bournemouth

Rochdale player-manager Paul Simpson will be without hamstring victims Michael Oliver and Steven Hill for the visit of Bournemouth.

The pair would have missed Saturday's postponed clash with Kidderminster after picking up the injuries in the lead-up to the game, and a club spokesman has confirmed they have "no chance" of playing against the Cherries.

Goalkeeper Neil Edwards will also miss out, although he has been told he could be ready to return by the end of the month after earlier fears he could miss the rest of the season with groin, knee and knuckle injuries.

Bournemouth manager Sean O'Driscoll is still without Jason Tindall (ankle) and Warren Feeney (hamstring) for the journey to Spotland.

Neil Young, whose appearance against Darlington was his first since January following a broken ankle, may well return to the starting line-up.

Meanwhile, 20-year-old striker Alan Connell is expected to sign a two-year extension to his contract this week, keeping him at Dean Court until June 2005.
Carlisle United v Scunthorpe United

Carlisle striker Craig Russell could return to the side for the game with Scunthorpe at Brunton Park.

Russell picked up a slight thigh problem prior to Saturday's 0-0 draw at Boston, but should be in contention to face the Iron.

Lee Maddison is expected to resume training this week after an eight-week hamstring problem, and may feature in Saturday's trip to Swansea.

Manager Roddy Collins will decide whether or not to include Richie Foran in the starting line-up after he came on as a sub against the Pilgrims following a groin injury.

Scunthorpe United manager Brian Laws is sweating on the fitness of Mark Jackson ahead of the trip to Cumbria.

Jackson is suffering from a groin injury and is extremely doubtful, while fellow centre-back Jamie McCombe is also a doubt for the game with the knee problem he has been suffering with for the last two weeks.
Darlington v Cambridge

Darlington caretaker-manager Mick Tait has reported no fresh injury worries ahead of the visit of Cambridge.

Gary Pearson will sit out the clash as a result of his sending-off at Wrexham last month, but Tait could name an otherwise unchanged side.

James Corbett is unlikely to make his debut as he is still struggling with a thigh problem picked up in training, while Stuart Whitehead is expected to miss out with an ankle injury.

The Us will be without Adam Tann, who is sitting out the second game of a three-match ban, while David Bridges (ankle) and Andy Duncan (groin/pelvis) are still sidelined
Wrexham v Shrewsbury

Wrexham manager Denis Smith could draft Shaun Pejic into the starting line-up to replace the suspended Dennis Lawrence against Shrewsbury.

Lawrence picked up his fifth yellow card of the season a fortnight ago, although players who now reach that figure will be handed a written warning rather than a ban.

Shrewsbury manager Kevin Ratcliffe may welcome back defender Leon Drysdale to the starting line-up.

He has been out with a bruised right foot, but trained on Monday and may well be included in Ratcliffe's starting XI.

Andy Thompson is available for selection after shaking off a calf strain.
Macclesfield v Leyton Orient

Matthew Tipton could start Macclesfield's game with Leyton Orient.

Tipton came off the bench to grab a late equaliser in Saturday's draw at Scunthorpe.

Orient boss Paul Brush looks set to name an unchanged line-up for the clash.

Justin Miller remains sidelined with a calf injury, while Dave McGhee is not expected back this season with an Achilles injury.

One more booking will see Lee Thorpe suspended.
Ronaldo doubtful for Milan encounter

MADRID, March 10 (Reuters) - Real Madrid striker Ronaldo is doubtful for his side's Champions League match at home to AC Milan on Wednesday after suffering a minor thigh strain.

The Brazilian was substituted at halftime of Saturday's 4-1 league win against Racing Santander in an attempt to rest him ahead of the Milan game, but it now appears as though he will struggle to make the starting line-up.

'Ronaldo felt a pain in his left thigh during the Racing game and we decided to take him off to avoid the risk of a muscle tear,' club doctor Alfonso del Corral told reporters on Monday.

'The muscle is a little irritated and we are going to be giving him treatment, but he will be doubtful for the Milan match.'

The good news for Real coach Vicente del Bosque is that central defender Ivan Helguera looks set to recover from an ankle injury in time to play on Wednesday.

'He has trained with his team mates and we are confident he will be able to play,' said Del Corral.

The defending European champions are still not certain of making the last eight of this year's competition.

Group leaders Milan have already assured their place in the quarter-finals by taking a maximum 12 points from their four matches, but any of the three other sides in the group could still join them.

Real are in second spot on five points, Borussia Dortmund follow on four while Lokomotiv Moscow bring up the rear with just a point.
AC Milan promise to deliver as Real sweat over Ronaldo's fitness
PARIS, March 11 (AFP) © 2003 AFP

Real Madrid have been given fair warning - AC Milan will show them the utmost respect by aiming to win their Champions League quarter-final tie at the Bernabeu stadium on Wednesday.
In different circumstances the reigning European champions might be pleased by the Italian giants' offer of playing to their full potential.
Borussia Dortmund, third in the same group and who take on Lokomotiv Moscow the same evening, will certainly be happy about the Italians' sporting promise.
However AC Milan are already qualified for the quarter-finals, and Real's pre-match nerves will be strained in the knowledge that star Brazilian Ronaldo, who has been so influential recently in their domestic campaign, could be sidelined.
"He might or might not play," said Real's club doctor Alfonso del Corral Monday, who explained that the Brazilian was carrying a thigh injury.
"But the possibilities of Ronaldo playing are not enormous."
Ronaldo's absence is arguably irrelevant to a Real side which is brimming with stars. The situation would definitely be worse if Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Raul and Guti were all on the injury couch.
However the fact is that Real, second in group C on five points - only one ahead of Dortmund - are still battling to secure their quarter-final place.
AC Milan, on the other hand, have breezed their way to the top, claiming 12 points from their four matches so far, and their renaissance as a European footballing power does not appear to be slowing down.
"We will be going to Madrid to win the match - out of respect for Real and for Borussia Dortmund," vowed the Serie A club's vice-president Adriano Galliani.
"We will play as though our qualification depended on it."
With influential Ukrainian Andrei Shevchenko fit for selection, after his promising return to the league last weekend, Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has the luxury of resting striker Filippo Inzaghi.
"We have a squad that will allow us to be challenging on all fronts," said Ancelotti, who will nevertheless be without midfielder Massimo Ambrosini and 22-year-old Georgian defender Kakha Kaladze, both injured.
Borussia Dortmund will be hoping AC Milan stick to their promise - although the German outfit, Champions League winners in 1997, should get the desired result if history is anything to go by - they have never lost to a Russian team in European competition.
Dortmund also won their away match 2-1 in the Russian capital before Christmas - although that was their only win of the group phase.
In group D fixtures are just as delicately poised.
Manchester United, also qualified following their 3-0 win over a flu-hit Juventus, are in a similar position to their Milanese counterparts.
And going on recent performances in Europe, Alex Ferguson's men would have to have a severe breakdown before allowing FC Basel to leave Old Trafford with three potentially life-saving points.
Basel have been the revelation in Europe this season although their only points in the group came from a 1-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna in February.
The Swiss minnows may take solace in the knowledge that United could field a more youthful side in the absence of key players such as Roy Keane, while
Argentine Juan Sebastian Veron is doubtful.
"It gives the manager a chance to play a few of our younger players against different opposition, which can only help them learn," said Keane.
Juventus, who sit second in the group on four points, host Deportivo, third on four points, in a crucial match where coach Marcello Lippi will ask French phenomenon David Trezeguet to come up with more of his magic.
Trezeguet came off the bench on Sunday to score a spectacular goal to end Udinese's unblemished home record and hand Lippi a 1-0 league win which pushed Juventus three points clear of Inter Milan.
As far as history is concerned, Juventus have the upper hand, only conceding one defeat from 17 matches against Spanish teams at home.
But Lippi would be wise to command his troops to keep close tabs on Deportivo's Dutch striker, Roy Makaay, who has netted 27 times in all competitions this season.
(Ananova, AFP, BBC, Daily Soccer, Sky-Sport)


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