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Southampton v Man City
Saints have only won once in seven Premiership games at home to City. The visitors have won away at Southampton four times, more than against any other Premiership opponent.

Manchester City will be hoping to inflict more agony on Southampton when the sides meet at the St Mary's Stadium on Saturday, live on Prem Plus.

The Saints are currently winless under head coach Steve Wigley in a run that has seen them slump to just above the drop zone.

Saints have won just one of their opening seven league games of the new season, and that was Paul Sturrock's last game in charge against Blackburn.

Southampton did secure a victory in the Carling Cup over Northampton, but slipped to yet another defeat against Fulham last weekend.

Wigley's side are one of the lowest scorers in The Premiership and the manager will be hoping the likes of James Beattie, Kevin Phillips and Peter Crouch can start delivering the goods.

Claus Lundekvam has been passed fit and should partner Andreas Jakobsson at the heart of the defence on Saturday.

Yoann Folly is out of the clash with a knee injury and joins Matt Oakley and Leandre Griffit on the sidelines while Jason Dodd, Marian Pahars and Michael Svensson remain long-term casualties.

City boss Kevin Keegan has selection worries ahead of the trip to the South Coast with three of his stars unavailable to play.

Antoine Sibierski, Trevor Sinclair and Claudio Reyna are all out forcing Keegan to bring out of favour midfielder Christian Negouai into his squad.

At the back Sun Jihai may retain his place at right back, although youngster Willo Flood is pushing the China international hard for his first start in The Premiership.

City won at Southampton last season thanks to goals from Robbie Fowler and Paolo Wanchope, although neither will be playing this weekend with Fowler out of favour and Wanchope exiting in the summer.

Skysports.com Prediction: 2-1.
Saints to claim a much-needed win against a plucky City outfit. Nicolas Anelka will open the scoring but the home side will show their character and claim the three points.
Arsenal v Charlton
Thierry Henry has scored nine goals in seven games against Charlton. Francis Jeffers's last Premiership goal for Arsenal came in a 2-0 win over Charlton at Highbury.

A midweek trip to Norway ended in two points dropped and a scuffle on the team bus as Arsenal again failed to replicate domestic form on the European stage.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger will be far from enamored with either the performance or aftermath of Wednesday's stalemate and will be anxious to resume normal service against Charlton on Saturday.

Arsenal's form in The Premiership has been as imperious as ever this season and Wenger will be confident of picking up maximum spoils against a Charlton side that has underperformed thus far.

However, a win in their last outing against Blackburn will rejuvenate flagging spirits and boss Alan Curbishley will look to Bolton as a source of inspiration - following their 2-2 stalemate at Highbury earlier in the season.

Brazilian anchorman Gilberto Silva continues to miss out with a back problem, with Francesco Fabregas to deputise alongside skipper Patrick Vieira.

Edu, who played in midweek, is rested along with England left-back Ashley Cole who has a slight knock to his knee and a tight hamstring. Promising French starlet Gael Clichy deputises.

Dennis Bergkamp was a noticeable absentee from Arsenal's line-up in Rosenborg but he won't need to fly to Highbury and should regain a first team berth.

The Dutchman has rolled back the years this season in his majestic displays and the indifferent Robert Pires is the man to make way, again rested, with Jose Antonio Reyes asked to fill in on the left flank.

Sol Campbell looked to be feeling the effects of two games in a week against Rosenborg following injury and could be rested - with Pascal Cygan standing by to partner Kolo Toure.

Charlton are yet to claim a scalp away from The Valley this season but they were the last club to beat Arsenal in a London derby (4-2 in Nov 2002).

However, after conceding an average of three goals away from home this season, Arsenal's strikers will not be shy of making their presence felt at the weekend.

The Addicks are boosted with the possible return of Matt Holland and Shaun Bartlett but it is likely the South African will have to settle for a place on the bench, following Kevin Lisbie's bright display on Monday.

Francis Jeffers will be anxious to shake off a neck injury to start against the club who deemed him surplus to requirements in the summer and will be out to question Wenger's judgement.

The Addicks are never without spirit but against an Arsenal side that has plundered 22 goals in 7 games, it seems unlikely that they will leave Highbury with anything but a comprehensive defeat.

Skysports.com Prediction: 3-0
With a point to prove Arsenal will have too much for Charlton.
Blackburn v Aston Villa
Rovers have failed to score in four of the last six Premiership games against Villa. The Midlanders have won just one of their last 14 league games against teams from the North West.

After scoring only five times in seven games it is fair to say Blackburn have a shortage of goals this season, but the arrival of Youri Djorkaeff shows a definite attempt by manager Mark Hughes to remedy the problem.

The Welshman was singing the praises of the French World Cup winner after his first training session.

He told Rovers' official website: "Even in that short space of time, Youri's shown qualities we need. He's calm in possession, he has a picture in his mind before the ball arrives and he's basically a quality player.

"He's a different type of player to the ones that we have here, sometimes you just need a little bit of craft in and around the penalty box to unlock the door.

"Youri's that type of player."

Djorkaeff - who, despite not playing this season, insists he is fit - can expect a place on the bench for Saturday's encounter with Aston Villa.

But, with both Rovers' current lack of firepower and a league position of 16th to consider, the Frenchman could find himself on from the start.

Another possible change in attack would be the inclusion of Jay Bothroyd in place of Jon Stead, who has yet to repeat the form he showed in last season's run-in.

Matt Jansen should also start, having impressed Hughes in his first start at Charlton last Monday, despite the 1-0 defeat.

Otherwise the team should be unchanged - Craig Short, David Thompson and Steven Reid all still out through injury.

The last time Aston Villa went to Blackburn, they were in 16th place and had won just one away game in 19 months.

Villa won 2-0 at Ewood Park that day in December and the victory brought about a major upturn in the club's fortunes away from home - they collected a majority of the 23 points available in the second half of last season.

Such away form has not carried over - so far Villa have only managed draws with newly-promoted West Brom and Norwich, and a 3-0 defeat at Charlton.

Villa currently stand ninth in the table after an indifferent start to the season, and have been held to frustrating draws in their last three Premiership outings.

Perhaps more worrying for manager David O'Leary has been the fact that only one goal has been scored in those three games.

One player anxious to force his way back into the Villa starting line-up is young German midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger.

Motivation for the 22-year-old will no doubt be provided by the news of his call-up to the full national squad for the friendly against Iran on October 9.

Skysports.com Prediction: 1-0
Djorkaeff debut to make the difference.
Everton v Tottenham
Tim Cahill has picked up four yellow cards in three Premiership appearances, including a double against Manchester City that saw him sent off. Robbie Keane has bagged four goals in his last three games against Everton.

Tottenham will be without Fredi Kanoute when they travel to Everton on Saturday.

The former West Ham forward suffered a hamstring strain against Manchester United in last week's 1-0 defeat but Jacques Santini welcomes Thimothee Atouba and Sean Davis back into the fold.

Michael Carrick is still missing as Spurs look to improve on a poor Goodison Park showing last season when they were beaten 3-1 and Stephen Carr was sent off.

However, the North Londoners' record at Everton is very impressive since the inception of The Premiership as they have lost only two of the 12 games in the blue half of Merseyside. Their last win there, though, was back in 1998 when Les Ferdinand hit the winner.

Robbie Keane, who looks set to start up front with Jermain Defoe, bagged a hat-trick against The Toffees in 2003.

Everton should have Leon Osman pushing for a return to the side, even though David Moyes will be loathe to alter a winning formula.

The Merseysiders can move into second spot in the table with victory over Spurs and Osman, who suffered a groin strain in the Carling Cup win at Bristol City, may have to settle for a place on the substitutes' bench.

Tim Cahill is available but his call-up for Australia means he will be departing for the other side of the world after competing in Saturday's Premiership encounter.

Defender Alan Stubbs plays despite having stitches in a head wound.

"Everyone knows winning breeds confidence," said defender David Weir.

"You get that little bit of luck and get on a roll, you start to win games and then what follows on from that is that you start expecting to win."

After their best start to a season for 26 years, Everton will be determined to inflict Santini's second defeat since taking charge of Tottenham.

Skysports.com Prediction: 1-1.
A tough game to call with both sides starting well so a draw might be the likeliest conclusion.
Norwich v Portsmouth
Norwich has never lost a home Premiership game in October (seven games). Pompey have picked up just 11 points from 21 Premiership away games since being promoted

Leon McKenzie will start for Norwich as they search for a first win of the season against Portsmouth.

McKenzie has come off the bench in every one of Norwich's Premiership matches so far this term, but will be given his chance from the start against Pompey.

Canaries boss Nigel Worthington is desperate to get his first win under his belt, and has said he will alter his formation for the visit of Portsmouth.

Damien Francis, Gary Holt or Youssef Safri will be dropped as Worthington switches from a diamond to flat four across midfield, with Paul McVeigh or Mattias Jonson set to play on the wing.

David Bentley could also return to the starting line-up after a promising start to the season for the on-loan Arsenal man.

Steve Stone is due to return for Portsmouth, which will be a welcome boost for Harry Redknapp's side who have won just one league match without him in the line-up.

The former Nottingham Forest man missed the 1-0 defeat to Everton with an Achilles injury but is back in contention for the trip to Norfolk.

Vincent Pericard's serious knee injury could rule him out for the season but Diomansy Kamara could make his first start after his club record move.

Tresor Lomana Lua Lua could also get a place in the side, but defenders Arjan De Zeeuw and Hayden Foxe are both still out with injuries.

Skysports.com Prediction: 1-0
Norwich can finally get a Premiership win under their belts but it will be a scrap
West Brom v Bolton
The only two Premiership meetings of West Brom and Bolton finished in 1-1 draws. Kanu scored the winning goal in his only Premiership start against The Trotters

West Brom go in search of their first win of the season when they host Bolton in Saturday evening's live Prem Plus offering.

The Baggies are unbeaten at home this season having earned three 1-1 draws against Aston Villa, Tottenham and Fulham.

Bolton are unbeaten in their last five Premiership outings and they have drawn their last three games.

West Brom are missing key duo Darren Purse and Neil Clement through injury.

Purse begins the first game of his four-match suspension following his sending off against Newcastle and his FA charge of violent conduct, while Clement serves a ban for his dismissal against Fulham.

Baggies club captain Darren Moore could replace Purse in defence, while Hungarian Zoltan Gera may take over from Clement.

Geoff Horsfield is pushing for a place in the starting line-up after his impressive showing as a substitute against Newcastle with Robert Earnshaw sweating over his place.

Bolton are boosted by the return of captain Jay-Jay Okocha after he missed last weekend's draw with Birmingham through injury.

Okocha is set to come back straight into the starting line-up with El-Hadji Diouf possibly making way.

Florent Laville is the only absentee for Bolton as he recovers from a long-term injury.

Sky Sports.com prediction: 1-1
Another draw looks on the cards for these two sides as West Brom are hard to beat at home.
Birmingham v Newcastle
Blues have never won a Premiership home game in October. Alan Shearer has never scored against Birmingham in The Premiership - Watford are the only other team out of 38 opponents he has failed to score against.

Birmingham look to give their stuttering season a kick-start when Newcastle visit on Sunday.

Graeme Souness' side will be in fine spirits following their comprehensive Uefa Cup win in Israel, but a tough match on Thursday may take its toll.

The Magpies had a bruising encounter with Bnei Sachnin and Steve Bruce will be hoping there will be a few tired legs come Sunday afternoon.

Blues have managed just one victory so far this season, which is a bitter disappointment to the fans who were looking forward to good start after a number of arrivals in the summer.

Bruce's men have not won in four games and have suffered their worst Premiership start to date, along with a poor scoring record that has yielded just five goals so far.

Newcastle, in contrast, have won every game under Souness since he took charge in place of Sir Bobby Robson.

The Magpies have won three out of three in the league under Souness, and have been banging in the goals at will.

However, there are still question marks over their away form and a trip to St Andrew's will be a tough test for the new Souness regime.

Nicky Butt will be able to provide fresh legs in midfield after he missed the Uefa Cup trip through suspension.

Titus Bramble and Kieron Dyer are still out with injuries, but Ronny Johnsen is in the squad as he battles to regain his fitness.

Robbie Elliott sat out Thursday's match with a stomach bug but he is now in contention for a return to the starting line-up

Skysports.com Prediction: 1-2
Newcastle complete a great week with an away win against a struggling Birmingham side.
Man United v Middlesbrough
All three of Sir Alex Ferguson's wins over Steve McClaren's Middlesbrough have been 1-0. No team has won more often at Old Trafford in Premiership history than Boro - Chelsea and Liverpool share the record of three victories.

Steve McClaren is determined Middlesbrough recover from their European exploits when they face Manchester United and another potential Wayne Rooney show on Sunday.

The Boro boss returns to his former club with a record at Old Trafford comparable to any other Premiership club, although last season's two-goal hero Juninho has since been sold to Celtic. In the Brazilian's place, the likes of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Mark Viduka have both scored at the 'Theatre of Dreams' in the past.

The Teessiders should be able to call upon several of the players who did not make the trip to Banik Ostrava, although updates will be required on the likes of Hasselbaink, Viduka, Ray Parlour and Ugo Ehiogu.

Gaizka Mendieta has recovered from a calf problem and impressive youngster James Morrison promoted his claims with the injury time equaliser on Thursday night. Long-term casualty Michael Reiziger is definitely sidelined.

"I don't think we've been distracted by our games in Europe," claimed McClaren. "I have enough experience of European nights to know there can sometimes be a reaction by teams in their next league match.

"So it is important we do not allow our performance levels to drop in any match we take part in."

United should have few problems coming out of their 6-2 hiding of Fenerbahce on Tuesday night as the euphoria concerning Rooney's debut has still to subside.

The teenager will make his Premiership debut for his new club against Boro as Sir Alex Ferguson ponders his options again.

Roy Keane and Cristiano Ronaldo were rested in the UEFA Champions League but should return, and there may be a place for Darren Fletcher, who came on as a substitute against Fenerbahce, as Ferguson continues to tinker with his midfield quartet.

Alan Smith failed to even get off the bench on Tuesday but will be keen to figure against one of the clubs that tried to buy him from Leeds United, although Louis Saha is close to being available for selection.

Indeed, only Paul Scholes appears to be missing for the rampant Red Devils so Ferguson's starting XI is virtually impossible to predict.

Skysports.com Prediction: 2-1.
The Czech Republic trip and 'Roomania' mean all the signs point to a home win - despite Boro's outstanding record at Old Trafford.
Chelsea v Liverpool, Live on Sky Sports 1 16.05
None of the players who scored in Chelsea v Liverpool games last season are still at the club (Owen, Veron, Hasselbaink and Cheyrou). The Reds have lost more often (eight times) at Stamford Bridge than on any other Premiership away ground

Chelsea and Liverpool do battle in the live Sky Sports Super Sunday clash at Stamford Bridge.

Both sides experienced contrasting fortunes in the UEFA Champions League in midweek with Chelsea beating holders Porto and Liverpool slumping to defeat to Olympiakos in Greece.

Liverpool are anxious to avoid a fourth successive away defeat as they look to end Chelsea's unbeaten start to the season.

Chelsea enjoy a superb home record against the Merseysiders with Liverpool's only win at Stamford Bridge in The Premiership coming last season.

Blues boss Jose Mourinho has no fresh injury worries to contend with for the visit of Liverpool with Arjen Robben, Adrian Mutu, Celestine Babayaro and Italian goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini all still missing.

Mourinho could decide to change things to freshen things up after a busy recent period with the likes of Joe Cole and Mateja Kezman yearning for a start.

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has a number of choices to make before finalising his line-up.

Benitez could recall Harry Kewell back to his starting line-up in place of Stephen Warnock after he started the game against Olympiakos on the bench.

The Spaniard is likely to stick with his lone striker in away games leaving Milan Baros and Djibril Cisse to battle it out for the nod in the starting line-up.

The Reds are still missing long-term injury victims Steven Gerrard, Antonio Nunez and Vladimir Smicer.

Sky Sports.com prediction: 2-0
Liverpool's away misery is set to continue at Stamford Bridge against resilient
Brighton v Sheff Utd
Brighton & Hove Albion will look to build on their midweek win at Nottingham Forest with a home clash against Sheffield United.

Adam Virgo's winning goal pushed The Seagulls away from the lower reaches of the Championship table, with manager Mark McGhee keen to add another positive result against The Blades on Saturday.

Brighton will be without captain Danny Cullip for up to six weeks after needing surgery to treat a double hernia problem.

Defender Adam El-Abd (pictured) is also sidelined for up to six weeks after being stretchered off with bruised ankle ligaments in last weekend's win at Gillingham.

Fellow defender Guy Butters will undergo a late fitness test on a calf injury he has been carrying for some time.

Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock could introduce new signings Emanuele Gabrieli and Danny Cadamarteri in his line-up at The Withdean Stadium, with seven first team players currently sidelined with injuries.

Warnock's preparations have been further hampered by Andy Gray's three-match ban being upheld following his sending off for an off-the-ball incident with Gary Breen in the club's midweek win over Sunderland.

Centre back Chris Morgan is a major doubt after hobbling out of the win with a hamstring problem, but Andy Liddell is available after recovering from a thigh strain.
Cardiff City v Leeds United
Two Championship strugglers meet at Ninian Park on Saturday, as Cardiff City host Leeds United in a crucial clash in South Wales.

The match is the first meeting between both sides since the infamous FA Cup third round clash that The Bluebirds won in controversial circumstances two-and-a-half years ago.

Lennie Lawrence's side will aim to bounce back from their midweek defeat at Burnley, despite having a number of injury concerns and suspensions.

Cardiff are without the suspended duo of Alan Lee and skipper Graham Kavanagh whilst Gary Croft, Martyn Margetson, Richard Langley, Robert Page and Rhys Weston are all sidelined with injuries.

Willie Boland is likely to replace Kavanagh and striker Andy Campbell is expected to come in for the suspended Lee in attack while loanees Gary O'Neil and Darren Williams are also available.

Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell, meanwhile, looks set to stick with an unchanged side for the third straight match, despite a midweek home draw with high-flyers Stoke City.

With no fresh injuries, the former Sheffield United assistant manager is likely to keep faith with the strike pairing of on-loan Brett Ormerod and Brian Deane.
Crewe Alexandra v Watford
Watford will look to push into the play-off places by getting a result at Championship strugglers Crewe Alexandra.

The Hornets have had a fine start to the new campaign, despite having to settle for a goalless draw in their midweek clash with Wigan Athletic.

Watford boss Ray Lewington looks set to name an unchanged side for the trip to Gresty Road, with Paul Devlin available after shaking off a hamstring injury.

Centre back Sean Dyche, however, will miss out again with a similar hamstring problem.

The Railwaymen, meanwhile, have injury doubts with defenders Stephen Foster and Anthony Tonkin.

Foster is currently struggling with a sore knee while Tonkin is suffering from a dead leg problem and Ben Rix remains short of match fitness, despite recovering from shin trouble.

Luke Varney (thigh) and Lee Bell (broken arm) are also sidelined and Adie Moses is out with a torn calf muscle, but Chris McCready is available after recovering from a thigh injury.

Despite the injury woes, Alex boss Dario Gradi will have the services of new loan signing Jon Otsemobor (pictured) available for the Watford match after the Liverpool youngster joined Crewe on a month's loan this week.
Leicester City v Preston North End
Leicester City come into Saturday's home game with Preston on the back of a poor run at the Walkers Stadium.

The Foxes have registered 10 points from a possible 15 on their travels so far - but have secured just five points at home.

That leaves Micky Adams' men standing an indifferent 10th in the Championship. Not surprisingly, striker Dion Dublin believes the position can be improved upon - starting with Preston's visit.

He told City's official website: "We have been poor at home and that is something we need to sort out. It is not for a lack of trying I tell you.

"It is difficult to put your finger on just what has been going wrong, but we have the confidence to put it right," he said.

With David Connolly suspended, Dublin played alongside Trevor Benjamin in Tuesday night's 2-0 victory at Gillingham - scoring the second goal - and said the combination worked well.

"It's completely different playing alongside Trevor Benjamin as opposed to David Connolly. David wants it into his feet and does bits and bobs on the edge of the box.

"Benji is all over the pitch and his workrate is phenomenal."

Such a performance could pose Micky Adams a selection problem as Connolly should be available on Saturday, along with Nathan Blake, who has been sidelined with a toe injury

Other players who could come back into contention are Scottish International winger Peter Canero and Foxes skipper Matt Elliott - who had been scheduled to return at Gillingham.

Suspended Jordan Stewart is back in contention, but both Lee Morris and Keith Gillespie are set to miss out again - Morris not figuring since his summer arrival, while Gillespie has been injured since the end of August.

Meanwhile, Preston boss Billy Davies is hoping to welcome back both Marlon Broomes and Andy Smith.

Broomes - out of action since August - suffered a slight reaction on his comeback from ankle ligament damage in Preston Reserves' midweek defeat by Rotherham.

Smith is rated 50-50 with the ankle injury that kept him out of Tuesday's draw with Plymouth.

Want-away David Healy is available after suffering a groin strain, but Chris Lucketti - suffering the same problem - is said to be 10 days away from recovery.

And Simon Lynch is serving the second game of a three-match ban.
Plymouth Argyle v Gillingham

Plymouth Argyle meet Championship strugglers Gillingham at Home Park on Saturday.

The Pilgrims will be aiming for a higher position in the table after a 1-1 draw at Preston North End in midweek while The Gills will want to bounce back from their midweek defeat to Leicester City.

Plymouth boss Bobby Williamson has left back Peter Gilbert and midfielder David Norris both back from injuries, but Northern Ireland international Tony Capaldi is out with a broken leg.

Gills player-boss Andy Hessenthaler is likely to hand a debut to on loan Adam Nowland, who joins the club from Championship rivals West Ham United.

Nicky Southall, however, will miss out through suspension after he was sent off for an innocuous second yellow card in the defeat to Leicester.

Tommy Johnson, Barry Ashby and Mark Saunders are all still unavailable through injury.
Reading v Burnley
Championship leaders Reading host an improved Burnley at The Madejski Stadium on Saturday.

The Royals are a point clear of second place Wigan Athletic after a 1-1 draw at Ipswich Town in midweek.

The Clarets' 1-0 win over Cardiff City in midweek made it five straight matches without a defeat for Steve Cotterill's side.

Reading boss Steve Coppell will be without Adie Williams and Lloyd Owusu for Saturday's match, but goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann is expected to overcome a slight back problem to be in contention.

Former Burnley man Glen Little will be in contention to face his old club after making a run-out in the reserves in midweek.

Burnley, meanwhile, will have Michael Duff back from suspension, but on loan Portsmouth man Richard Duffy could start ahead of him on Saturday.

Robbie Blake picked up a knock in the win against Cardiff but is expected to play while defender Lee Roche is out with a hamstring problem.
Stoke City v Queens Park Rangers
Fourth place meets fifth in The Championship as in-form Queens Park Rangers travel to Stoke.

Ian Holloway has a possible goalkeeping crisis on his hands with no cover for number one Chris Day.

Reserve keeper Jake Cole is struggling to be fit to make the bench leaving Rangers short of options between the posts.

The visitors are still without injured trio Tony Thorpe, Gareth Ainsworth and Arthur Gnohere meaning Holloway is likely to stick with the side that beat Coventry 4-1 in midweek.

Stoke could include fit-again winger Steve Guppy after he missed the goalless draw with Leeds on Tuesday.

Gareth Owen is included in the squad having returned from a loan spell at Torquay.
Sunderland v Derby County
Sunderland and Derby County meet at The Stadium of Light on Saturday, with both sides aiming for promotion.

The Black Cats saw a five-match unbeaten run end with a midweek defeat at Sheffield United while The Rams earned a 1-1 draw with West Ham United at Pride Park.

Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy is likely to hand a debut to centre back Neill Collins after losing Gary Breen (pictured) for three matches for his sending off at Bramall Lane in midweek.

Julio Arca and Marcus Stewart should both return to action on Saturday, with Chris Brown and on loan Darren Carter set to make way.

Jeff Whitley will have a late fitness test on his knee, but recent loan signing Michael Bridges is unlikely to feature with a minor knock.

George McCartney will also have a fitness test on a hamstring injury, but Liam Lawrence is out with a knee problem.

Derby manager George Burley, meanwhile, is sweating over the fitness of midfielder Inigo Idiakez and central defender Mo Konjic.

Idiakez has an ankle knock while Konjic continues to be troubled by knee and thigh problems.

Morten Bisgaard (hip), Richard Jackson (ankle) and Marcus Tudgay (shoulder) are all out while Paul Boertien is short of match fitness after recovering from close-season knee surgery.

Nathan Doyle, however, is available after suspension, but the defender is unlikely to feature on Wearside.
West Ham United v Wolves
West Ham entertain Wolves at Upton Park in Saturday's biggest game in The Championship.

The Hammers have failed in their last three league games and they will be keen to end that run at the expense of Wolves.

The hosts are still without Scottish defender Malky MacKay through injury so Hayden Mullins will continue in the side.

Midfield ace Nigel Reo-Coker is doubtful after picking up a knee problem in the midweek draw at Derby.

Wolves could hand a debut to new boy Mikkel Bischoff after signing him on loan from Manchester City.

The visitors are boosted by the return to fitness of Swedish defender Joachim Bjorklund after a hamstring problem and he should start at Upton Park.
Wigan Athletic v Rotherham United
Wigan Athletic will be looking to regain first place in The Championship when they tackle Rotherham United on Saturday.

The Latics had led the league earlier in the season, but following a run of four draws and a win Reading have surpassed Paul Jewell's side.

Rotherham currently prop up the division having failed to secure a win all season and will be heavy underdogs for their trip to The JJB.

The Millers secured a 2-1 win over Wigan last time around and Jewell is desperate for his charges to avoid a repeat of that season's result.

"You only have to look back at last season's game here to see what they are capable of and we must do all we can to make sure that we do not slip to that kind of defeat again," said Jewell to The Latic.

"After the game there is a two-week break, therefore a win is vital for both teams. We will have to be fully focused on the game if we are to get the result that we all want."

Gary Teale is a major doubt for the game and could be replaced by David Graham should he fail to recover in time.

Lee McCulloch is available for Jewell following suspension, while for Rotherham Chris Sedgewick and Mark Burchill are doubts as they have knocks.

Millers' boss Ronnie Moore is under no illusions of the task that lays ahead for the team ahead of the trip to The Latics.

"There's no doubt it's a daunting looking task," said Moore to the club's official website. "It would be nice to go into the break with a win behind us."
Coventry City v Ipswich Town
Coventry host Championship high-flyers Ipswich Town in the early Sunday kick-off at Highfield Road.

The match - to be shown on Sky Sports 1 - sees two sides at the opposite ends of the Championship table.

Joe Royle's side are pushing towards the top of the division while Peter Reid's Sky Blues are only four points above the drop zone.

Ipswich were unlucky not to take three points against leaders Reading at Portman Road in midweek, with striker Shefki Kuqi in fine form in attack.

Town are confident that number one goalkeeper Kelvin Davis will be fit for the match at Coventry after coming off at half time of the Reading match with a back problem.

Reid, meanwhile, looks set to hand Stephen Hughes a return to the side after being sidelined for the last three games with a badly bruised shin.

Louis Carey could be sidelined with a back injury and his absence could allow a return to the starting line-up for youngster Andrew Whing while Dean Leacock and Eric Deloumeaux are both out with hamstring strains.
Millwall v Nottingham Forest
Millwall are back in Championship action against Nottingham Forest this weekend following their European exploits.

The Lions crashed out of the Uefa Cup to Ferencvaros on Thursday night and player-manager Dennis Wise will take a head count in training before finalising his plans for the game at The New Den.

Millwall are still without Danny Dichio through injury, but Jo Tessem could make his debut after his loan switch from Southampton.

Forest are still likely to be without star defender Michael Dawson as he recovers from a long-lay-off.

Dawson made a successful return in the reserves in midweek, but the game with Millwall has come too soon for the England Under-21 international.

Forest are still without defensive duo John Thompson and Matthieu Louis-Jean through injury, while strike pair Kevin James and Craig Westcarr are carrying knocks.

Forest boss Joe Kinnear will be looking for a big improvement from the side that went down at home to Brighton in midweek.
Serie A matches Oct 2-3
Fri 1 October, 2004 13:41

By Simon Evans

MILAN, Oct 1 (Reuters) - New AS Roma coach Luigi Del Neri faces a tough debut when his troubled side take on Inter Milan at the Olympic stadium on Sunday.

Del Neri took over at Roma on Wednesday following German Rudi Voeller's resignation after less than a month in charge.

Voeller quit in the wake of an embarrassing 3-1 defeat to a Bologna team reduced to nine men.

Roma's poor results continued in Europe with caretaker coach Ezio Sella in charge for Tuesday's 4-2 defeat to Real Madrid.

Now Del Neri must boost morale and find a way to stem the defensive problems that have plagued Roma all season.

That will be no easy task against Inter who, while far from solid in defence themselves, have been scoring freely in recent weeks.

Roberto Mancini's side beat Anderlecht 3-1 in their Champions League match on Wednesday with Adriano and Obafemi Martins continuing their prolific scoring form.

Del Neri is without Romanian defender Cristian Chivu whose injury problems have kept him out of action this season but Greek defender Traianos Dellas should be fit.

Inter have a doubt over left back Giuseppe Favalli so club captain Javier Zanetti is poised for a recall.

OTHER MATCHES (Kick off Sunday 13:00 GMT unless stated, league position in parentheses)


Lazio's positive start to the campaign ended with a 2-1 defeat to Milan last week but have striker Tomasso Rocchi back from suspension.

Atalanta, yet to pick up a win, are without suspended forward Giampaolo Pazzini but will feature Demetrio Albertini who was released by Lazio in the close season.

- - - -

CAGLIARI (11) v BRESCIA (17) (Saturday 16:00)

Argentine midfielder Matias Almeyda should make his return from suspension for Brescia while Cagliari, who suffered a 3-1 defeat at Lecce last week are without the suspended Diego Lopez.

- - - -

CHIEVO VERONA (7) v LECCE (2) (Saturday 18:30)

Two of the liveliest teams of the early season meet in what should be an open and entertaining encounter with both looking to maintain unbeaten records.

Lecce's four goal Bulgarian teenager Valeri Bojinov will be the main threat to the home defence who should be in for a busy day against a team that with 11 goals in four matches are the top scorers in Serie A.

- - - -

MESSINA (3) v SIENA (15)

Norwegian Tore Andre Flo should be back for Siena but Brazilian Rogrigo Taddei, who has refused a new contract, is likely to be left out again.

Messina, with wins against Milan and Roma so far, will expect to pick up three more points against the Tuscans.

- - - -


Milan's shaky start has been forgotten thanks to wins at Lazio and at home to Celtic in the Champions League.

Dutch defender Jaap Stam is still sidelined but striker Filippo Inzaghi, who scored his first goal since coming back from injury against Celtic, could be given a starting place.

- - - -


Palermo coach Francesco Guidolin faces his old club in confident mood after last week's draw at Juventus.

Striker Luca Toni is hoping to shrug off an injury to return. Bologna's Giacomo Cipriani and Theodoros Zagorakis are suspended after their red cards in last week's win over Roma.

- - - -


This fixture produced some great matches in the 1990's but neither side have impressed yet this season.

Fiorentina coach Emiliano Mondonico is already under pressure to improve results after the club's heavy investment in new players following promotion last term.

- - - -


Livorno's are unlucky to still be without a win and travel to Genoa without their inspirational 36-year-old striker Igor Protti who was sent off in last week's draw with Atalanta.

Samp, who picked up their first win at Fiorentina, are missing injured playmaker Cristiano Doni.

- - - -


Juve's 100 percent record ended with the 1-1 draw with Palermo last week and Fabio Capello's side struggled to a 1-0 win against Maccabi Tel-Aviv in midweek Champions League action.

Alessandro Del Piero is out for at least a fortnight with an Achilles tendon injury so Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Trezeguet will be the strike pairing.

Primera Liga matches, October 2-3
Fri 1 October, 2004 11:16

By Simon Baskett

MADRID, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Real Madrid will want to prove that their spectacular comeback win over Roma in midweek was not just a flash in the pan when they host an out-of-form Deportivo Coruna at the Bernabeu on Sunday (kickoff 1900 GMT).

Real, in crisis after three defeats in four games and the shock departure of coach Jose Antonio Camacho, appeared to be heading for another loss when they trailed 2-0 after 22 minutes on Tuesday.

But two goals from captain Raul, a Luis Figo penalty and a trademark thunderbolt from Roberto Carlos gave the nine-times European champions a 4-2 win.

"Everything is going to change because of this result," coach Mariano Garcia Remon said. "We've regained our confidence and rediscovered our touch."

With Brazilian striker Ronaldo unlikely to play after picking up a thigh injury, Garcia Remon must decide who to play alongside Raul, who appears to have shaken off a minor groin strain.

Fernando Morientes and Michael Owen are anxiously awaiting their chance to get a run out in the starting line-up.

Deportivo have also made a disappointing start to the season. The Galicians lost 2-0 to Monaco in the Champions League on Tuesday and are 14th in the table after notching just one league win in five games.

Missing the presence of midfield stalwart Mauro Silva and striker Diego Tristan, Javier Irureta's side need a major improvement in form if they are to take anything away from their visit to the Bernabeu.

Other matches this weekend (league positions in brackets, kickoffs 1500 GMT unless stated):


REAL BETIS (12) v VALENCIA (1) 1800

Champions Valencia experienced their first setback of the season when they lost 2-1 away to Werder Bremen in midweek.

They will have to do without the services of in-form winger Vicente who is sidelined for two weeks after twisting his ankle in the match.

Former Valencia striker Ricardo Oliveira should lead the Betis attack against his old club.

- - - -


Atletico claimed a flattering 1-0 win over Villarreal last week and will have to make do without injured French midfielder Peter Luccin and defender Luis Perea, who was sent off.

Runners-up in the league two seasons ago, winless Sociedad prop up the table after their 2-1 defeat at Sevilla and will be without French defender Jeremie Brechet who is out for four months after a recurrence of an Achilles' heel injury.

- - - -



Espanyol continued their fine start to the season with a 1-0 win over Malaga last week, courtesy of inspirational midfielder Ivan de la Pena's goal. Opponents Albacete are one of three teams yet to win a game this term.

- - - -

BARCELONA (2) v NUMANCIA (13) 1700

Barcelona are on a high after impressive wins against Mallorca and Shakhtar Donetsk and will be favourites to notch another victory.

African Player of the Year Samuel Eto'o has scored five goals this season and with Ronaldinho, Henrik Larsson and Ludovic Giuly adding further options up front the Catalans are going to take some stopping.

- - - -


Athletic followed up their 2-1 win over Real Madrid with an equally impressive 2-0 victory over Trabzonspor in the UEFA Cup and should be too strong for Getafe who are struggling to adjust to life in the top flight.

Athletic midfielder Santi Ezquerro picked up a thigh injury against the Turks and will miss the trip to Madrid.

- - - -


Last season's second division champions Levante have made a surprisingly good start in the top flight and will fancy their chances against the islanders who are without Andrija Delibasic. The striker picked up a thigh strain in the 3-1 defeat against Barcelona.

- - - -


Both sides have been given a new lease of life following the arrival of strikers in the close season.

Savo Milosevic has helped propel Osasuna into fifth place in the table with five goals in as many games, while Malaga's strike partnership of Paulo Wanchope and Marcio Amoroso are proving to be a real handful for opposition defences.

- - - -


A young and exciting Sevilla side are living up to their promise with some impressive results.

Brazilian striker Julio Baptista is likely to miss the trip to Santander but the Andalucians, who have qualified for the group stages of the UEFA Cup, can manage without last season's leading scorer.

- - - -


Zaragoza have scored seven goals in the last week while, although they have yet to win in the league, Villarreal rediscovered their scoring touch with a 3-0 win over Swedish side Hammarby in Europe.

Bundesliga matches, Oct 2-3
Fri 1 October, 2004 10:23

By Patrick Vignal

BERLIN, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich return to domestic duties with a trip to Bundesliga champions Werder Bremen on Saturday (1330 GMT) appearing to have shaken off their sluggish start to the season.

Dutch striker Roy Makaay scored a hat-trick in Bayern's 4-0 Champions League win over Ajax Amsterdam on Tuesday as coach Felix Magath suggested his team were finally showing what they were capable of.

Werder, third in the league, have also been improving with a 2-1 Champions League win over Valencia following a 4-1 victory at VfL Bochum.

The champions are three points behind surprise leaders VfL Wolfsburg and one ahead of fourth-placed Bayern.

"Bayern are the favourites to win the title," said Werder's French defender Valerien Ismael. "There are several teams who could upset their plans and we are one of them."

Saturday's match will be a battle of the forwards with the prolific Makaay on one side and on the other Miroslav Klose, the Germany striker who has scored four goals in Werder's last two games.

Other matches this weekend (league positions in parentheses, kickoff times GMT):

Saturday, October 3 (1330)


Hertha Berlin are the only side yet to win a match and coach Falko Goetz could lose his job if they fail again.

Egypt defender Hany Ramzy and Greek forward Ioannis Amanatidis are two of several Kaiserslautern players sidelined with injuries.

- - - -


Bundesliga newcomers Mainz have started surprisingly well but are still chasing an away victory.

Freiburg will be without Bosnia midfielder Zlatan Bajramovic, who has a groin problem.

- - - -


Borussia Dortmund are nowhere near the position they want to be in and face weeks without Germany midfielder Sebastian Kehl, who has damaged knee ligaments.

Nuremberg have managed to win just one of their last 11 games in Dortmund.

- - - -


Brazilian defender Roque Junior is out injured for Bayer Leverkusen, who appear to be slowing down after a strong start.

Hamburg SV coach Klaus Toppmoeller, formerly with Leverkusen, saved his job with a 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin last weekend.

- - - -


Wolfsburg have a long injury list but should be able to defend their lead against Moenchengladbach, who have not won away from home yet.

The leaders recorded the highest victory of their short Bundesliga history over Moenchengladbach, a 7-1 win in 1998.

- - - -


Nobody wants to lose this northern derby with both teams needing points to move away from the relegation zone. Rostock will be almost at full strength while Hanover will miss Cameroon striker Mohammadou Idrissou.

- - - -

Sunday, October 3 (1530)


Bielefeld have started well but are decimated by injuries, notably missing Brazilian defender Marcio Borges and Romanian striker Claudiu Raducanu.

Stuttgart illustrated their brilliant form with a 4-0 UEFA Cup win over Hungary's Ujpest on Thursday in which Brazilian striker Cacau scored twice.

- - - -

SCHALKE 04 (15) v VFL BOCHUM (10)

Schalke have struggled in the Bundesliga so far but stormed through 9-1 on aggregate in the UEFA Cup after a 4-0 win at Latvia's Liepajas Metalurg on Thursday. That game was their first under new coach Ralf Rangnick.

Bochum warmed up for this Ruhr Valley derby by going out of the UEFA Cup with a 1-1 home draw with Standard Liege, whose goal came in added time.
Tranmere v Luton: Preview


Tranmere manager Brian Little is sweating on the fitness of captain Jason McAteer ahead of the top-of-the-table encounter against Luton at Prenton Park.

The midfielder is struggling with foot and hamstring injuries, and Little will wait as late as possible - "maybe even Saturday morning" - before naming his squad.

Danny Harrison, recently recovered from a knee operation, returns after featuring in a midweek practice match, while Eugene Dadi has recovered fully from flu.

Michael Jackson serves the final game of a three-match ban and Simon Haworth remains some way off match fitness despite making a successful comeback from a broken leg alongside Harrison.

Luton manager Mike Newell will be deprived of the services of three players for the trip.

Striker Steve Howard is suspended while David Bayliss (hamstring) and Marlon Beresford (groin) will also miss out.

On-loan Gary McSheffrey could replace Howard while Dino Seremet should again deputise for Beresford between the posts.

Stockport v Swindon: Preview


Stockport manager Sammy McIlroy will make changes for the return to league action against Swindon.

Luke Beckett was rested for Tuesday's LDV Vans Trophy win over Bury and could make a comeback, while Rickie Lambert is expected to revert back to a central midfield role.

Warren Feeney could return to contention following a rib injury, but he may struggle to displace Jon Daly, who opened the scoring in midweek.

Stuart Barlow and Adam Le Fondre, both of whom netted after coming on as second-half substitutes, are likely to have to settle for a place on the bench at best.

Loan signing Jamie McMaster is likely to make his Swindon debut in the game.

The 21-year-old midfielder signed a one-month loan deal with the Robins from Leeds earlier in the week and should go straight into the side for the trip to Edgeley Park.

However, four-goal striker Sam Parkin will not travel as he serves the first game of a three-match ban.

Stefani Miglioranzi is definitely ruled out through injury after suffering a groin strain in the 1-0 Carling Cup defeat at Leeds.

Sheff Wed v Milton Keynes Dons: Preview


Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Glenn Whelan will miss the visit of MK Dons through suspension.

The Republic of Ireland midfielder was sent off in the recent defeat at Coventry and misses his third match.

Striker Lee Peacock is struggling with an ankle problem, but boss Paul Sturrock has no other injury or suspension worries.

Midfielder Matt Hamshaw, striker Kim Olsen (both knee) and Craig Armstrong (hamstring) have all returned to full training, but are unlikely to be included.

Richard Wood (toe), Guy Branston (calf), Graeme Lee (knee) and Paul Heckingbottom (hip) all remain sidelined.

Milton Keynes Dons goalkeeper Scott Bevan is a fitness doubt for the trip.

The 25-year-old shot-stopper picked up a groin strain during last Saturday's match against Hartlepool and was not risked during the midweek LDV Vans Trophy victory at Brentford, with David Martin coming in to replace him.

Defender Malvin Kamara is also set to miss out again as he attempts to return to full fitness after a hamstring problem.

Peterborough v Torquay: Preview


Peterborough will entertain Torquay on Saturday with their squad hit by an injury crisis.

Posh boss Barry Fry had 15 players on the treatment table before the LDV Vans Trophy defeat at Bristol City and will again have a host of players missing this weekend.

Adam Newton (groin), Sagi Burton (dislocated shoulder), Calum Willock (hamstring), Clive Platt (groin), Chris Plummer (knee), Peter Kennedy (groin), Craig Ireland (knee) and Simon Rea are all doubtful.

Torquay United are poised to hand a debut to new goalkeeper Olafur Gottskalksson.

The former Icelandic international - who has previously played for Brentford and Hibernian - is poised to take over from Dutchman Arjan Van Heusden (groin).

Right back Lee Canoville (hamstring) is also sidelined following the 4-3 LDV Vans Trophy win over Yeovil.

Torquay are hoping Kevin Hill (calf), Martin Gritton (thigh) and Stuart Wardley (thigh) pass fit along with playmaker Alex Russell but striker Adebayo Akinfenwa is ruled out through suspension.

Huddersfield v Walsall: Preview


Huddersfield Town pair Andy Booth and Rob Edwards are rated 50-50 for Saturday's visit of Walsall.

Both veteran striker Booth and midfielder Edwards have been struggling with hamstring injuries.

Booth was replaced after an hour of last week's draw at Bristol City, while Edwards has missed the last two matches.

Boss Peter Jackson will definitely be without midfielder Danny Schofield following his midweek dismissal in the LDV Vans Trophy win over Morecambe.

Jon Worthington is also out due a one-game ban after reaching five bookings and defender Efe Sodje sits out the last of his three-game suspension.

But midfielder Tony Carss (knee) and wing-back Andy Holdsworth (shoulder) will both return to the squad.

Walsall boss Paul Merson has seen his squad boosted by the return to fitness of Ryan Willetts and Nathan Jameson ahead of the trip.

Midfielder Jameson (ankle) and defender Willetts (fractured wrist) both featured in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Port Vale this week.

And having proved their fitness, both could be included in the Saddlers squad to take on the Terriers.

However, defender Kofi Dakinah remains sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Hartlepool v Hull: Preview


Hartlepool boss Neale Cooper will make several changes as he prepares his side to face Hull City for the second time this week.

Goalkeeper Jim Provett is expected to return between the sticks despite stand-in stopper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos stealing the headlines with his penalty shoot-out heroics in Tuesday's LDV Vans Trophy victory against the Tigers.

Midfield duo Ritchie Humphreys and Mark Tinkler should come back in along with in-form striker Adam Boyd and defender Chris Westwood.

Antony Sweeney serves the second game of a three-match ban for his red card against MK Dons, while Hugh Robertson (foot), Darrell Clarke and Jack Ross (both knee) remain on the sidelines.

Hull City boss Peter Taylor will be without the services of goalkeeper Boaz Myhill.

Myhill serves a one-match ban after being sent off against Pools in the LDV Vans Trophy defeat on Tuesday.

The big stopper was replaced by Matt Duke in that game and he will step in again.

Defenders Damien Delaney (knee) and Leon Cort (foot) could be set to return, but midfielder Nick Barmby (ankle) and defender Marc Joseph (hamstring) are still a couple of weeks away from a comeback.

Doncaster v Wrexham: Preview


Doncaster boss Dave Penney welcomes back defenders Dave Morley and Tim Ryan for the clash with Wrexham.

Ryan has recovered from the foot injury which has kept him out of the last five games, while Morley is in line for his first appearance of the season following his recovery from a hernia operation.

However, fellow defender Stephen Foster faces several weeks on the sidelines after damaging ankle ligaments in the midweek win over Lincoln.

Striker Gregg Blundell (ankle) and defender Simon Marples (stomach) are back in training but Saturday's match may come too soon.

Wrexham manager Denis Smith is hoping Chris Armstrong will be available.

Armstrong missed the LDV Vans Trophy game against Notts County in midweek with an Achilles injury but should be fit.

Darren Ferguson is expected to have recovered from a thigh strain while Brian Carey, who was rested during the week, will return to the squad.

Dennis Lawrence (ankle) is rated as doubtful while Andy Dibble (hand) and Carlos Edwards (knee) are long-term absentees.M

Colchester v Port Vale: Preview


Colchester boss Phil Parkinson could welcome midfielder Kem Izzet back from injury for the home clash with Port Vale.

The former Charlton trainee has yet to make an appearance this season but could be in contention on Saturday after returning to full training.

However, Craig Fagan is still ruled out following surgery on his groin, while Liam Chilvers has not yet recovered from his hamstring problem.

Club captain Karl Duguid and defender Sam Stockley remain long-term absentees.

Port Vale boss Martin Foyle has brought Daryl McMahon in on loan from West Ham to bolster his squad in the wake of Steve Brooker's departure to Bristol City.

Foyle is now short of striking options and may have to rely on Lee Matthews passing a fitness test on a groin strain.

Dave Hibbert remains an option after making an impressive debut in midweek.

Ian Armstrong and Robin Hulbert should pass late fitness tests and are expected to take their places on the bench.

Chesterfield v Bristol City: Preview


Chesterfield boss Roy McFarland has snapped up Barnsley striker Mark Stallard on a month's loan and he goes straight into the squad to face Bristol City at Saltergate.

The 29-year-old joined the Tykes in January 2004 but has not started a game this season, making just five appearances from the substitutes bench

McFarland welcomes back defenders Ian Evatt and Shane Nicholson and also Tcham N'Toya after the three were left out of the LDV Vans Trophy defeat at Macclesfield.

Defender Mark Innes serves the second game of a three-match ban for his red card against Barnsley, while midfielder Derek Niven (ankle) and striker Caleb Folan (hernia) remain on the sidelines.

New Bristol City signing Steve Brooker will be available to play.

The striker signed from Port Vale on Wednesday and is likely to go straight into the side.

Kevin Amankwaah and Mickey Bell are also both available to boss Brian Tinnion having returned to first team action against Peterborough in the LDV Vans Trophy in midweek.

Both players took knocks in the 1-0 win over Posh, but should be fit nevertheless.

Tinnion's biggest selection dilemma will be deciding on which two to play up front from Leroy Lita, Christian Roberts and Paul Heffernan.

Brentford v Oldham: Preview


September's Coca Cola League One manager of the month Martin Allen has no new injury concerns ahead of Brentford's clash with Oldham.

Midfielder Eddie Hutchinson is on the long-term injury list, but otherwise Brentford have no injuries in the squad.

Allen also has no suspension concerns, as the Bees look to consolidate their current fourth position in the table.

Mark Arber and John Eyre are both doubtful for Oldham.

Defender Arber has been struggling with a hamstring injury but lasted the full 90 minutes against Colchester last week.

He will undergo a late fitness test, as will Eyre who hit a stunning free-kick for the Latics against the Us.

Eyre had an injection to clear up a groin problem recently but has since developed a hip injury.

Long-term absentees Les Pogliacomi and Mark Bonner returned to training this week but will not feature at Brentford, while David Beharall is a week away from a return to training.

Bradford v Barnsley: Preview


Bradford boss Colin Todd will welcome back four key players for the home clash against Barnsley.

Defenders David Wetherall, Wayne Jacobs and Darren Holloway and midfielder Nicky Summerbee were all rested for Wednesday's LDV Vans Trophy defeat against Accrington.

Danny Forrest was an unused substitute in midweek but he is unlikely to be involved against the Tykes.

The England Under-19 striker has not kicked a ball in anger since injuring his back in the summer.

Todd said: "Danny is fit again but he needs some reserve games under his belt. We put him on the bench against Accrington to give him a boost and he isn't far away."

Barnsley's Chris Shuker will be hoping for a first-team start.

The ex-Manchester City winger has settled for a place on the bench for the last two matches following the 7-1 Carling Cup trouncing by his former club.

Boss Paul Hart has recently preferred Barry Conlon, Michael Chopra and on-loan Daniel Nardiello for the attacking roles, but could opt to make changes following the midweek LDV Vans Trophy defeat at Port Vale.M

Blackpool v Bournemouth: Preview


Blackpool defender Rob Edwards is a major doubt for the weekend visit of Bournemouth.

Edwards was replaced at half-time during Wednesday's LDV Vans Trophy win at York due to a back problem and could face a late fitness test.

Boss Colin Hendry has four fit front men to choose from with on-loan Oldham striker Scott Vernon expected to partner the in-form Scott Taylor, with midweek goalscorers John Murphy and Keigan Parker on the bench.

Hendry is expected to make changes from the side that won at Bootham Crescent after resting several first-team players.

Long-term absentee Keith Southern is still two or three weeks away from a return to action with the reserves following knee surgery.

Bournemouth will be hoping defender Eddie Howe can shake off a knee problem in time to take his place.

Howe pulled out of Cherries' LDV Vans Trophy encounter at Shrewsbury during the warm-up in midweek after feeling a twinge.

And now boss Sean O'Driscoll will be keeping his fingers crossed the on-loan Portsmouth man will be fit enough to make the Bloomfield Road trip.

Cherries also have fitness doubts over goalkeeper Neil Moss (back) and John Spicer (calf), both of whom sat out Tuesday's match, while Marcus Browning (calf) was substituted at half-time at Gay Meadow and remains a doubt.

Jason Tindall and Steve Fletcher, who have both been dogged by respective knee problems since pre-season, returned to training on Thursday while Stephen Purches (ankle) is set for a return to training next week.M (Reuters, Sky-Sport, New´sNow, Soccernet...)

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