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High stakes in Milan derby

A Milan derby does not usually require any additional ingredients to make it one of the biggest games in the European soccer calendar but Saturday's clash (20:30cet) certainly carries more than just pride as a prize. All Serie A games LIVE on eurosport.com from Saturday - 18:00cet!

The two Milan clubs have slipped up in recent weeks, allowing defending champions Juventus to obtain a clear lead at the top of the table.

With second-placed Inter five points behind Juve and third-placed Milan eight points adrift, defeat in the San Siro derby will leave the losers facing a near impossible task for the final six games of the season.

Juventus are at home to mid-table Bologna on Sunday night, a match they are expected to win.

The chances of either side catching Juventus look slim at the moment but no-one is throwing in the towel yet and a derby win would offer the perfect launch-pad for a late assault on Marcello Lippi's side.

"The last title I won (in 1999) came after we were trailing by seven points with seven games remaining," said Milan captain Paolo Maldini.

"So that means to me that we need to be ready to take advantage if Juve trip-up and we need to believe in ourselves," added the former Italy international.

Inter striker Christian Vieri, top scorer in Serie A with 24 goals so far this season, believes that the importance of the game should make an entertaining encounter.

"If it is a draw then it will make things difficult for both sides. Both teams need to win and knowing they need three points will boost the chances of a spectacular match," said the striker.

Milan are without the injured trio of Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf and Kakha Kaladze while Inter coach Hector Cuper finally has his main strikers avaliable to him.

Argentine Hernan Crespo returned to action for Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final, first-leg match against Valencia, making his first showing since he was injured in January.

However Cuper may give Alvaro Recoba a start again alongside Vieri, while captain Javier Zanetti may push into midfield with Fabio Cannavaro recalled to defence.

OTHER MATCHES (kickoff times Sunday, 15:00cet unless stated; league positions in parentheses):

COMO (17) v PERUGIA (11) (Saturday, 18:00)

It looks like a mismatch: the team with the fewest wins in Serie A against one that is still pushing for a UEFA Cup place, but Como lately have become unpredictable, veering from an unlikely 5-1 win over Bologna last month to the 3-0 defeat against Lazio last weekend. Perugia have won just one of their last seven games.


Just four points separate the teams lying between 12th and 15th in Serie A. With this in mind, a win for either Atalanta or Reggina could put precious points between themselves and the relegation zone. Atalanta are without midfielders Alex Pinardi (ill) and Damiano Zenoni (suspended), while a full-strength Reggina side arrives fresh off the back of their 1-0 win over Empoli last weekend.

EMPOLI (14) v CHIEVO (6)

Chievo reignited their challenge for a Champions League place with last weekend's 3-0 win against Udinese. Since then, goalkeeper Cristiano Lupatelli has ruled himself out for the rest of the season after injuring a cruciate ligament in training. Empoli continue their battle to avoid the drop without suspended midfielder Manuel Belleri.

MODENA (12) v LAZIO (4)

Lazio will want to bounce back from the disappointment of their midweek 4-1 UEFA Cup thrashing at the hands of Porto with a convincing win against Modena. Dutchman Jaap Stam is still not fit to bolster a Lazio defence that looked all at sea in Portugal, while their opponents on Sunday start without suspended midfielder Paolo Ponzo.

AS ROMA (8) v PARMA (5)

AS Roma's late comeback in last weekend's 3-3 draw with Inter Milan showed they still have the power to wreck the ambitions of teams above them. Parma, who are one point short of the fourth Champions League place held by Lazio, will be determined not to become the next victims. Their hopes receive a boost from the news that injuries to Roma defenders Walter Samuel and Cafu look doubtful to start against Parma's dangerous strike partnership of Adrian Mutu and Adriano.


Torino have five players suspended as a result of last weekend's bad-tempered Turin derby. Goalkeeper Luca Bucci and striker Cristiano Lucarelli are the most damaging. Whether Piacenza can profit, however, remains another question. Luigi Cagni's side has won only one of their last six matches.


Brescia's comfortable 3-0 win against Atalanta last weekend moved them into the top half of the league for the first time since the beginning of the season. The same team looks set to face Udinese, whose only injury worry is Argentine defender Nestor Sensini.

BOLOGNA (10) v JUVENTUS (1) (Sunday, 20:30)

Juventus's 1-1 Champions League draw with Barcelona midweek demonstrated how much they miss the sharp finishing of injured striker David Trezeguet. In the Frenchman's absence, Marco Di Vaio is expected to start up front alongside Alessandro Del Piero for the game against Bologna, who are stuck in midtable.

Real Madrid face real test

Leaders Real Madrid travel north to take on Real Sociedad on Sunday knowing that victory over the Basque side, along with a helping hand from Barcelona, would take them a long way towards their 29th league title. Follow all Liga games LIVE on eurosport.com from Saturday - 18:00cet

Real produced their best performance of the season to beat Manchester United 3-1 at the Bernabeu in midweek and move to the brink of a place in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Another victory on Sunday (kickoff 18:00) would put them nine points ahead of third-placed Real Sociedad with nine games left to play, an advantage it would be hard to see the reigning European champions letting slip.

If Barcelona beat Deportivo Coruna at home on Saturday in the other outstanding game of the weekend, Real would also be nine points clear of Depor, the only other side in with a chance of catching them, and the league title would be theirs to lose.

"If we beat Real Madrid the title race is still on," Real Sociedad's Russian midfielder Valery Karpin told Marca newspaper in the build-up to the game.

"Victory would put us within three points and anyone can lose one game.

"If we lose, Real will be nine points clear and there'll be nothing we can do about it. I can't see them losing enough ground for us to catch up."

Real Madrid are running into their best form just as they enter the toughest part of the season.

Vicente del Bosque's side came through Tuesday's game against Manchester United with no serious injury problems and the coach is likely to field his first choice line-up once again.

Real Sociedad will hope midfielder Xabi Alonso recovers from his thigh strain in time to lead the Basques as they look to recapture the form that took them through the first half of the season unbeaten.



Barcelona clinched a valuable 1-1 draw away to Juventus to stay on course for the semi-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday and coach Radomir Antic will hope to see some of the same resilience against Depor. Antic has injury doubts over Frank de Boer, Carles Puyol and Xavi but Luis Enrique could make his first start since March after coming on as a late substitute against Juve. Deportivo need victory to keep the pressure on Real Madrid ahead of their trip to San Sebastian on Sunday. Coach Javier Irureta is likely to shift full back Hector over to the centre of defence, with Cesar suspended and Jorge Andrade injured.

SEVILLA (8) v VILLARREAL (13) (18:00)

Villarreal were superb in last weekend's 2-0 win at home to Barcelona and coach Benito Floro is likely to stick with the same four-man forward line consisting of Antonio Guayre, Victor, Jorge Lopez and Antonio de Nigris in a bid to unsettle a Sevilla side with the best defensive record in the division.



Atletico have not won in three games and their chances of playing European football next season could disappear if they go down to a much improved Espanyol. The visitors, now being coached by Javier Clemente, are unbeaten in their last five league games and are out of the relegation places. Atletico will have Romanian international defender Cosmin Contra suspended after he was sent off in last week's 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao.


Celta need to win this home clash with Betis to stay snapping at the heels of Valencia in the fourth and final Champions League place. Betis have several key first team players on the long-term injury list but they pulled off an excellent victory over Valencia last weekend and they will go all out in search of another win that would serve to revive their season.


Malaga kept clear of the relegation zone with last weekend's excellent win away to Osasuna and another victory here would revive their hopes of a UEFA Cup place for next season. Valladolid looked decent candidates for Europe themselves early in the season but after two draws and two defeats in their last four games they are now just two points clear of the relegation zone and coach Pepe More is preparing changes.


Rayo may be bottom after a 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid but Gustavo Benitez's side will take heart from the way they controlled the game against the leaders, only a three-goal burst in the last four minutes consigning them to defeat. Benitez will wait on the fitness of Russian centre back Viktor Onopko and midfielder Jorge Azkoitia before naming his side to face inconsistent Athletic.


Colombian midfielder Harold Lozano has a knee injury and will remain a doubt for Mallorca up until kickoff. Racing, who brought an end to a four-game losing streak with last week's 1-0 win over Sevilla, should have Ismael fit to return to central midfield.

RECREATIVO HUELVA (19) v ALAVES (18) (11:00)

Recreativo's victory over Valladolid last weekend took them off the bottom of the table and preserving their first division status no longer looks an impossible dream. Another win here against one of their direct rivals to avoid the drop would not quite take them out of the relegation zone but it would serve as another huge morale boost and leave Alaves, UEFA Cup finalists two years ago, in deep trouble.

VALENCIA (4) v OSASUNA (17) (19:30)

Valencia have had a bad week, with a 2-0 defeat at Real Betis in the first division and a 1-0 setback away to Inter Milan in the opening leg of their Champions League quarter-final. With Celta Vigo pushing hard for fourth place, Rafa Benitez's side badly need a home win over Osasuna but that will be no easy task against a side pushing hard to avoid relegation.

Scary game for M'gladbach

Once-great Borussia Moenchengladbach's chances of escaping relegation from the Bundesliga much depend on their ability to beat fellow strugglers Nuremberg on Saturday (14:30cet).

The five-times German champions, who returned to the top flight last season after two years in the second division, are third from bottom in the 18-strong table with seven matches left.

Anything but a home victory over Nuremberg, who lie one spot below them, would leave them in great danger of going down again.

"Another relegation would send the club two or three years back and would be very bitter," said new coach Ewald Lienen, who took over from Hans Meyer last month.

Nuremberg, who have an injury list as long as a starting line-up, are three million euros in debt and just as desperate to stay up.

Saturday, April 12 (14:30cet)


Bielefeld, fighting to avoid going straight back to the second division, will miss South Korea striker Cha Doo-ri, who has a calf injury. TSV 1860 Munich playmaker Thomas Haessler is still sidelined with a knee injury. The former Germany midfielder, who has been told his contract would not be renewed, will probably retire at the end of the season.


Bayern, 14 points clear at the top, are decimated by injuries with Germany playmaker Michael Ballack and England midfielder Owen Hargreaves among the casualties. Werder, chasing a place in Europe, also have several players out injured, among them midfielder Fabian Ernst and Dutch defender Frank Verlaat.


Kaiserslautern, who have been moving up the rankings but are just three points above the drop zone, are near full strength. Rostock, who moved away from the danger area with a 1-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg last weekend, have two midfielders injured in Kevin Hansen and Joakim Persson.


Germany defender Marko Rehmer is out injured for Hertha Berlin, who will be eager to bounce back after a 4-1 defeat by Bayer Leverkusen last weekend. Bochum, who have collapsed after a great start to the season and are now threatened by relegation, will miss injured central defender Frank Fahrenhorst.


First-choice goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand is sidelined with a knee injury for Stuttgart, who are hunting a Champions League berth. Leverkusen, who left the relegation zone by crushing Hertha last week, like going to Stuttgart. They have won seven of their last 10 league games there.


Hamburg are almost at full strength now with playmaker Rodolfo Cardoso and striker Bernardo Romeo both back for the final stretch of their chase for a spot in the UEFA Cup. Champions Dortmund, concentrating on a top-three finish for a place in at least the qualifying round of the Champions League, miss injured Germany defender Christoph Metzelder.

Sunday, April 13 (16:30)


New Schalke coach Marc Wilmots, whose task is to secure a place in the UEFA Cup, misses Argentine defender Anibal Matellan and midfielder Andreas Moeller through suspension and injury respectively. Second-division bound Energie Cottbus have lost the two previous Bundesliga matches they have played against Schalke in Gelsenkirchen.


Mid-table Wolfsburg have plenty of injury worries with goalkeeper Claus Reitmaier and striker Tomislav Maric both on the list. Hanover, who held Bayern to a 2-2 draw last week, look set to remain in the top flight after winning the second division title last season.
PARIS, April 10 (AFP) - Reigning champions Lyon host Bordeaux on Friday night in a game that will have a crucial bearing on the outcome of this year´s French league title.

With six rounds to go the French championship is bubbling away nicely. Lyon hold a two-point advantage over Monaco and Marseille, with their Friday night guests Bordeaux a point further back in their hunt for the crown they last wore in 1999.

A fired up Lyon coach Paul Le Guen had this message for his players and fans.

"Defeat at Bordeaux would mean we were no longer true masters of our own destiny."

Brazilian midfielder Juninho Pernambucano, who returns from a one-match suspension, rates Lyon well up to the task of grabbing the three points.

"We´re in form after five consecutive wins. It´s a big match and we have to approach it like a Champions League tie."

Bordeaux, 4-3 winners over Rennes last weekend, face the league´s best attack without the luxury of their injured keeper Ulrich Rame.

If Lyon fail to notch up a sixth straight league success that will leave the door to the summit enticingly ajar for Monaco and Marseille, who face on paper at least less taxing trips to clubs embedded in relegation territory.

Didier Deschamps´ Monaco, who like their south coast neighbours Marseille succumbed to a home defeat last weekend, travel to southern Corsica to face third from bottom Ajaccio.

Troyes, footing the table, could face a Marseille backlash after coach Alain Perrin side´s latest humbling 2-0 loss to Guingamp, the Brittany outfit´s first ever win at Marseille´s Velodrome stronghold.

Marseille´s defensive strongman Frank Leboeuf must pass a late fitness test if he is not to miss his second match in a row.

Two who will definitely not be turning out for the trip to the Loire Valley-based Troyes are Sebastien Perez and the Brazilian Fernandao, who is recovering from a head fracture.

Auxerre´s push for a place in Europe next season gained momentum midweek with a 3-1 verdict over Sedan which pushed Guy Roux´s side up into sixth.

A result away to former table toppers Nice will could see the Burgundy boys leapfrog fifth club Nantes, who visit Strasbourg.

Paris Saint Germain, placed eighth and on a bit of a roll with five games without defeat, confront Lens without their stopper Lionel Letizi, who is suffering from a knee problem.
Hibernian v Livingston

Hibernian manager Bobby Williamson has one injury worry ahead of the visit of Livingston.

Craig James suffered an ankle injury during last week's 6-2 defeat at the hands of Williamson's former club Kilmarnock.

But the Hibs boss is boosted by the return of both Alen Orman and Yannick Zambernardi to the squad.

Livingston could be without three key defenders for the trip to Easter Road.

Oscar Rubio (fractured cheekbone) and Gus Bahoken (ankle) are definitely out, while the influential Marvin Andrews, so sorely missed against Aberdeen last week, will have a late fitness test.

He returned with an ankle problem from international duty with Trinidad & Tobago.
Motherwell v Dundee

Motherwell will be without three players when Dundee visit Fir Park.

Midfielder Shaun Fagan has been ruled out for the rest of the season after twisting a knee in training on Monday, and Stephen Pearson and Tony Vaughan are banned.

Striker Khaled Kemas is also rated doubtful with a thigh problem.

Dundee manager Jim Duffy has just one worry ahead of the trip.

Georgian Zura Khizanishvili is rated doubtful by the Dark Blues boss with a knee injury.

The Taysiders are aiming to build on last week's good results against Celtic and Falkirk to secure their top six place.
Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur

Peter Reid is certain to name an unchanged Leeds line-up for the Elland Road clash with Tottenham.

Interim manager Reid has no fresh injury worries following last week's 6-1 mauling of Charlton at The Valley, with just Michael Bridges, Seth Johnson and David Batty on the sidelines.

It means there will again be no place in the squad for Paul Okon, Raul Bravo and Teddy Lucic, three of former manager Terry Venables' four signings during his time at the club.

Anthony Gardner is back in the Tottenham squad after missing the last nine weeks with a hamstring injury.

The central defender scored for the reserves against Fulham on Wednesday.

Steffen Iversen, Dean Richards and Jamie Redknapp are making progress, but are not yet ready to return.
West Ham United v Aston Villa

Midfielder Michael Carrick is set to return to West Ham's starting line-up to face Aston Villa at Upton Park after recovering from a stomach strain.

Club captain Steve Lomas is rated 50-50 as he has a groin strain.

Aston Villa striker Marcus Allback is pushing for a rare start after impressing as a substitute in the home draw with Arsenal.

The Swedish international could replace Mustapha Hadji, who would switch to a midfield role. Top scorer Dion Dublin is still suspended.

New Wales cap Rob Edwards is pushing for a start at right-back in place of Ulises de la Cruz as manager Graham Taylor considers reverting to a 4-4-2 formation, with full-back Alan Wright (Achilles) the only fresh injury doubt
Liverpool v Fulham

Michael Owen returns to the Liverpool side after a back injury for the clash with Fulham, with assistant boss Phil Thompson predicting the Reds will win their remaining six games and get back into the Champions League.

Fellow striker El Hadji Diouf is a doubt with a shin infection, giving Vladimir Smicer or Bruno Cheyrou the chance of a run-out.

Stephane Henchoz has returned from Switzerland after a calf operation and hopes to train next week in preparation for the Merseyside derby, but his chances of playing at Goodison Park are already considered slim.

Fulham midfielder Sean Davis returns from a three-match ban, but centre-back Alain Goma is out with a calf injury sustained in training and midfielder Bjarne Goldbaek is sidelined with an abdominal strain.

Right-back Steve Finnan, who had a poor game against Blackburn on his comeback after a fractured rib, suffered no ill-effects after the game and is fit.

Forward Barry Hayles is back in full training after his serious neck injury and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar (broken foot) will join him in a fortnight.
Chelsea v Bolton Wanderers

Chelsea's fitness worries have eased ahead of the clash with in-form Bolton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge.

Striker Eidur Gudjohnsen (cold), midfielder Emmanuel Petit (calf) and defender Celestine Babayaro (cold), who all missed last Saturday's 2-1 victory at Sunderland, are fit again.

However, Jesper Gronkjaer (groin) and Mario Stanic (Achilles) have failed to recover in time and another absentee will be fellow midfielder Jody Morris, who has not trained this week due to a thigh problem.

Bolton could be boosted by the return of striker Salva Ballesta from a knee injury.

Simon Charlton is also fully fit after a knee problem, while Mike Whitlow is available but short on match fitness.
West Bromwich Albion v Everton

West Brom central defender Phil Gilchrist has played his last game of the season after suffering a recurrence of a knee problem which will require a month's rest.

Neil Clement is favourite to replace him in the back three for the home Barclaycard Premiership clash with Everton, with the fit-again Ifeanyi Udeze filling the vacancy at left wing-back.

Midfielder Andy Johnson is in contention for a place in the starting line-up after recovering from a broken toe, while Sean Gregan will escape a two-game ban if he avoids collecting a 10th booking before an FA amnesty kicks in on Sunday.

Everton are unlikely to risk top scorer Tomasz Radzinski even though he is back in training after a groin injury.

Manager David Moyes could give Wayne Rooney another run up front with Kevin Campbell, or rest the youngster ahead of the Easter programme by playing fit-again Duncan Ferguson.

Tony Hibbert is back in training after his hernia operation, while long-term injured duo Alessandro Pistone and Tobias Linderoth are expected to return to training on Monday.

Manchester City v Middlesbrough

Eyal Berkovic has shrugged off long-term injury fears and is set to be given a starring role in Manchester City's attempt at an end-of-season revival, beginning with the home game against Middlesbrough.

The Israeli suffered a reaction to his groin injury after playing the entire 90 minutes at Bolton last week, but a specialist's examination confirmed it was not a problem which will prevent him from completing the season.

Defensive duo Niclas Jensen and Sun Jihai are back for the Maine Road encounter after missing the 2-0 reverse at the Reebok through suspension, and young Dane Mikkel Bischoff could come into contention for his first start.

Middlesbrough hope to extend an unbeaten seven-match run in the Barclaycard Premiership.

But full-back Stuart Parnaby (hamstring), midfielder George Boateng (ankle) and striker Michael Ricketts (Achilles) are all ruled out.
Birmingham City v Sunderland

Birmingham City boss Steve Bruce will give late fitness tests to two players before the game against Sunderland at St Andrews.

Republic of Ireland skipper Kenny Cunningham is a major concern with a groin injury, with Darren Purse - who last played senior football in December - standing by to deputise after recovering from ankle surgery.

Goalkeeper Ian Bennett is expected to be fit after an ankle problem to take over from newcomer Andy Marriott following the 2-1 defeat at Tottenham last week.

Sunderland goalkeeper Mart Poom is standing by for a debut as Thomas Sorensen struggles to shake off a back injury.

Mick McCarthy's squad is severely depleted, with Phil Babb out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on a groin injury and young full-back Mark Rossiter sidelined for six months with a ruptured cruciate ligament.

Others missing through injury are Claudio Reyna, Matthew Piper, Tore Andre Flo, Jason McAteer, Thomas Butler, Jurgen Macho, David Bellion, Jody Craddock, Thomas Myhre and Paul Thirlwell.
Blackburn Rovers v Charlton Athletic

Blackburn boss Graeme Souness will stick with Andy Cole and Hakan Sukur as his strikers when Charlton visit Ewood Park.

The pair were excellent in Monday's 4-0 win over Fulham and Souness has confirmed they will be in his starting line-up again.

Keith Gillespie has shaken off an ankle knock to keep his place in the squad.

Charlton manager Alan Curbishley has promised changes after the 6-1 home defeat by Leeds, and that could mean a new look in the heart of the defence, where Mark Fish and Richard Rufus looked as though they had never met.

Jon Fortune is set for a recall after missing out with a ricked neck and Curbishley could opt for a 3-5-2 formation instead of 4-4-2.

Jesper Blomqvist, the former Manchester United and Everton winger, could shake off his misfit tag and get a first Barclaycard Premiership start of the season.
Wimbledon v Derby County

Wimbledon have four players sidelined as they host struggling Derby at Selhurst Park.

Damien Francis (ankle), Jobi McAnuff (hip), Lionel Morgan (ankle) and Jermaine Darlington (calf) are all still out.

The Dons' problems mounted further when defender Dean Lewington picked up an ankle knock during the draw with Charlton Athletic reserves on Tuesday.

The various injuries mean youngsters Nico Herzig and Michael Gordon are called into the squad.

Derby County defender Luciano Zavagno's injury-blighted season would appear to be at an end as the Argentinian requires surgery to cure his hernia problem.

Injury has also ended the season for Lewis Hunt, who has a torn thigh muscle, and Marcus Tudgay, who needed surgery to repair knee ligament damage.

Lee Morris is ruled out with a sciatic nerve problem that has affected his hamstring and back, while Rob Lee will also miss the encounter as he completes a two-game suspension.
Rotherham v Leicester

Rotherham keeper Mike Pollitt will break a run of 203 successive appearances against Leicester after sustaining a knee injury in the defeat at Stoke.

Ian Gray will deputise against the Foxes and manager Ronnie Moore admits his performance may dictate where his future lies next season.

The Millers boss must also decide whether to recall Paul Hurst - who was on the substitutes' bench against the Potters - or keep faith with the back four from the 2-0 defeat at the Britannia Stadium.

For Leciester, Paul Dickov and Billy McKinlay are back from two-match bans for the trip to Millmoor where a win would clinch promotion to the Premiership.

Andy Impey and Alan Rogers have recovered from flu and are expected to make the trip.

But Brian Deane's hamstring problem means the striker is doubtful, while Matt Jones' ankle injury continues to sideline him
Norwich City v Burnley

Nigel Worthington will check on the fitness of Craig Fleming and Phil Mulryne before naming his Norwich squad to face Burnley.

The duo played over an hour of the reserves' defeat against Oxford in midweek, with Fleming coming back from foot ligament damage and Mulryne returning after a hip problem.

Alex Notman continued his recovery from an ankle injury with a 60-minute run-out, but he is unlikely to be in contention.

Burnley boss Stan Ternent could welcome back two of his more experienced players for the trip to Carrow Road.

Drissa Diallo is close to a return from the hamstring injury that has kept him out of the Clarets' last two games.

Gordon Armstrong, who has also been struggling, may be available following treatment.
Millwall v Stoke City

Millwall's Tim Cahill is hoping to return to the squad against Stoke City having come through two reserve games after six months out with a knee ligament injury.

But Steven Reid and Richard Sadlier will not play again this season - Reid has been ruled out with knee ligament damage, while Sadlier suffered a recurrence of a hip injury.

Paul Robinson has been nursing an ankle injury and is rated doubtful, but Kevin Braniff is pushing for a chance after hitting two goals for the reserves in midweek.

Stoke welcome back James O'Connor for the trip to the New Den after the midfielder missed the last two games through suspension.

However, Potters boss Tony Pulis is still without loan signing Ade Akinbiyi, who was absent from the 2-0 win over Rotherham in midweek with a hamstring injury.

Mark Wilson could return from a shoulder injury, although the midfielder will not be rushed back to first-team action if he is not 100 per cent fit.
Coventry v Ipswich

Youssef Safri is a fitness doubt for Coventry ahead of their home clash with Ipswich.

Safri failed a fitness test before last week's 2-2 draw at Preston and he is still rated doubtful.

Morten Hyldgaard, dropped because he is four appearances away from triggering a £100,000 transfer bill to his former club, is expected to miss out again so 20-year-old Gary Montgomery should continue in goal.

Ipswich have concerns over the fitness of Jim Magilton as he tries to overcome a groin strain.

But manager Joe Royle is hoping to welcome back Thomas Gaardsoe, who missed the 4-3 home defeat by Nottingham Forest, also with a groin problem.

Darren Bent is out with a hamstring tear, but Alun Armstrong is in line to return to the squad after recovering from a wrist injury
Brighton v Preston

Brighton should field an unchanged line-up for the visit of Preston after the win at Reading.

Dean Blackwell, who missed the match with an ankle injury, is rated doubtful to return.

But Paul Kitson has recovered from a stiff back and should keep his place on the bench as Brighton seek to extend their unbeaten home run to six games.

Preston manager Craig Brown has three injury worries ahead of the trip to the Withdean Stadium.

Jonathan Gould is struggling to kick the ball because of a groin strain and Marlon Broomes is doubtful with a hamstring problem.

Rob Edwards' knee injury is not as bad as first thought, but he is still unlikely to make it into the squad.
Grimsby v Crystal Palace

George Santos is doubtful for Grimsby's home game against Crystal Palace.

He is struggling with hamstring and groin problems and Paul Groves will leave a decision on his availability until the last minute.

The Mariners boss must also decide whether to persevere with youngster Darren Mansaram as his lone striker or select Michael Boulding, who is nearing full fitness after an ankle injury.

Palace's Shaun Derry is an injury doubt ahead of the trip after being forced off at half-time in the midweek 1-0 defeat by Watford with a thigh injury.

Aki Riihilahti is missing, also with a thigh injury, and Danny Granville is suspended.

Jamie Smith (hamstring) and Curtis Fleming (knee) remain sidelined, so youngster David Hunt could continue, while Andrew Johnson remains out with a hamstring injury.
Portsmouth v Sheffield Wednesday

Yacubu Ayegbini is out of Portsmouth's home clash with Sheffield Wednesday after suffering a hamstring injury in the win at Walsall.

With Vincent Pericard (knee) ruled out for the remainder of the season, Lee Bradbury could be in line for a start against the club he was playing for on loan until this week.

Arjan de Zeeuw could be fit after missing two games with ankle ligament trouble as Pompey look for the three points that would guarantee their promotion to the Premiership.

For Wednesday, struggling at the other end of the table, Shefki Kuqi looks certain to partner Lloyd Owusu in attack following Bradbury's return to Fratton Park.

Darryl Powell continues to struggle with a hamstring problem and seems unlikely to be risked by boss Chris Turner.

Jon Beswetherick is back in the squad after completing a suspension, while Michele Di Piedi is in contention after recovering from a hamstring strain, despite being told by Turner that he has no future at the club.
Gillingham v Walsall

Rod Wallace will miss Gillingham's home clash with Walsall after being ruled out for two weeks with a calf problem.

Simon Osborn is rated 50-50 after being forced off in the goalless draw at Stoke with a thigh strain, but Barry Ashby (dead leg) should be fit.

Mark Saunders is still out with a groin strain, while Andy Hessenthaler (hamstring) and Jason Brown (shoulder) could be back for next week's trip to Burnley.

Jamie Lawrence - a deadline-day free transfer from Bradford - is expected to make his debut for Walsall after missing the 2-1 home defeat to Portsmouth through suspension.

Martin O'Connor is another poised for a return to action after a ban, but James Walker and Carl Robinson remain suspended.

Danny Hay and Fitzroy Simpson could make manager Colin Lee's squad after returning from shoulder and thigh injuries respectively.
Nottingham Forest v Wolverhampton

Riccardo Scimeca and Des Walker are poised to return to the Nottingham Forest starting line-up for their clash with play-off rivals Wolves at The City Ground.

Scimeca, who missed Tuesday's defeat at Leicester with food poisoning, looks set to replace midfielder Gareth Williams, facing a three-week lay-off with a foot injury.

Veteran skipper Walker, having made his first appearance at first-team level in almost three months as a substitute against Leicester, is set to take over from Norwegian Jon Olav Hjelde (hamstring) at the heart of the defence.

Darren Huckerby is expected to be declared fit after despite a hamstring problem.

Wolves midfielder Shaun Newton is available after missing the midweek victory at Grimsby with a calf strain. But manager Dave Jones is without striker Adam Proudlock, who has a groin strain, and knee-injury victim Mark Clyde.

Wales international Nathan Blake plays his last game before starting a three-match suspension for his sending-off against Rotherham.
Wigan v Brentford

Wigan goalkeeper John Filan is expected to be fit for the clash with Brentford after recovering from a damaged shoulder.

Filan's availability will be welcomed by boss Paul Jewell, who is without Ryan Yeomans for the rest of the season after he fractured his wrist in training.

Peter Kennedy is back in contention after completing an hour for the reserves during the week, but Tony Dinning (calf) and Lee McCulloch (hamstring) are both doubtful.

Brentford duo Rowan Vine and Leo Roget will play their last games before beginning suspensions.

Top scorer Vine received his 10th booking of the season against Cheltenham last weekend and faces a two-match ban, while defender Roget is facing a three-match suspension for being sent off in the same match.

Mark Peters will serve the last match of a four-game ban, but Bees boss Wally Downes does, at least, have no injury worries to report
Tranmere v Wycombe

Tranmere could have Jason Price available for the visit of Wycombe after he came through a reserve game unscathed - after three weeks out with a hamstring problem.

Stuart Barlow is making good progress from a groin strain and could offer boss Ray Mathias another option up front.

But Gary Jones is doubtful after picking up a foot injury in the goalless draw at Luton, as is goalkeeper John Achterberg, who is also struggling with a foot problem.

Wycombe boss Lawrie Sanchez is unlikely to make changes to his side despite the fact that they have conceded four goals in each of their last three games.

Stuart Roberts is back in the squad after an ankle injury, but Richard Harris will not make his comeback from a calf injury until a reserve game next week.

Craig Faulconbridge will not feature again this season following an operation to remove damaged cartilage in his right knee
Swindon v Huddersfield

Swindon boss Andy King is facing a defensive crisis ahead of the home game against Huddersfield.

David Duke (back) and Alan Reeves (leg infection) have both been ruled out, and Andy Gurney was sent home with a bug.

King had been looking to play Craig Farr in place of Bart Griemink to see how he fared, but will have to cancel that plan because of a groin injury to the young shot-stopper.

Huddersfield have a worry over Thomas Heary after he picked up a back injury in training.

Eddie Youds could step in if he can prove his fitness after a persistent Achilles problem.

Kevin Sharp is available after suspension, and Martin Smith is set to play despite missing training earlier in the week.
QPR v Luton

Matthew Rose is pushing for a start in QPR's home match against Luton after a knee ligament injury.

Tommy Williams (ankle) could be recalled, while Dennis Oli (knee) is also back in contention.

Karl Connolly is out with a foot injury, and Ben Walshe remains doubtful with a knee problem.

Luton face a growing injury list, with Tony Thorpe and Ian Hillier both likely to be missing with ankle knocks.

Emmerson Boyce (groin), Ahmet Brkovic (thigh) and Russ Perrett (thigh)all face late fitness tests.
Stockport v Plymouth

Stockport will give late fitness tests to three players ahead of the visit of Plymouth.

Ali Gibb (thigh) and Andy Welsh (groin) are doubtful, but Luke Beckett could recover from his hamstring injury in time to start.

Plymouth will be forced to change their line-up now midfielder Grant Smith has returned to Sheffield United after his loan spell.

New signing Kieran McAnespie comes into the reckoning.

Boss Paul Sturrock will once again miss the match as he continues scouting, leaving assistant Kevin Summerfield to handle team affairs
Port Vale v Northampton

Marc Bridge-Wilkinson will not feature again for Port Vale this season.

He suffered knee ligament damage making a tackle in last week's 1-0 victory at Mansfield.

For the game against Northampton, Brian Horton is expected to stick with Peter Clarke in defence after he replaced Ian Brightwell at Field Mill, while Paul Byrne is set to return after recovering from flu.

Northampton manager Martin Wilkinson prepares for his first game as permanent boss with the same squad beaten by leaders Wigan Athletic last Friday.

Derek Asamoah and Richard Hope impressed in the reserves derby against Peterborough in midweek and will be pushing for a starting spot.
Colchester v Notts County

Phil Parkinson is likely to name an unchanged Colchester side for the visit of Notts County.

The Us will be without long-term casualty Joe Keith, while Adrian Coote (hip) and Simon Brown remain doubtful.

Brown injured his groin against Oldham on March 8 and has not yet fully recovered.

Notts County's Mark Stallard is expected to be fit for the trip to Layer Road having returned to full training this week after picking up a shin injury.

Simon Ramsden will also return to contention after suspension.

Paul Bolland may have to delay next week's scheduled hernia operation, depending on the availability of Darren Caskey (ankle ligament) and Michael Brough (knee).

Cheltenham Town v Oldham Athletic

Cheltenham striker Damian Spencer has recovered from a freak injury to regain his place in the squad for the home match with high-flying Oldham Athletic.

The on-loan Bristol City forward missed the midweek draw with Luton at Whaddon Road after injuring his knee the day before the match when he tripped over a plastic dog bone and fell down the stairs.

Spencer's return looks like being the only change to manager Bobby Gould's squad, as midfielder Richard Forsyth (hamstring) and defender Richard Walker (thigh) are out for the season.

Oldham boss Iain Dowie has an embarrassment of riches following the return of Clint Hill, who featured for the reserves in midweek after several months out with a broken leg and could be handed a place on the bench.

Dowie may also involve Julien Baudet, who has recovered from a thigh problem, while keeper Les Pogliacomi is fit again after a back problem and could return at the expense of David Miskelly.

Danny Boshell is also in the squad after proving his fitness in a reserve-team outing.
Bristol City v Mansfield Town

Manager Danny Wilson faces a tricky choice between Christian Roberts and Liam Rosenior up front against struggling Mansfield Town at Ashton Gate.

Roberts was out of sorts in the LDV Vans Trophy final win over Carlisle and the match was transformed when Rosenior replaced him. The youngster made one goal and scored the other.

But Wilson is keen to ensure not too much pressure is placed on Rosenior, so it would be no surprise if he stuck with his Millennium Stadium starting line-up.

Mansfield's Craig Disley was carried out of training on Thursday after a heavy tackle left him nursing a swollen knee and he is a doubt.

Adam Eaton is expected to feature against the Robins despite carrying a knee injury, while defence colleague Rhys Day will face a fitness test after straining knee ligaments.

Colin Larkin is undergoing treatment on his troublesome hamstring at the National Sports Centre at Lilleshall and is out of contention
Blackpool v Crewe

Blackpool are likely to be without Richie Wellens and Ben Thornley for the home game with Crewe.

Both were injured in last week's defeat by Notts County and are doubtful.

Crewe are waiting on the fitness of full-backs Paul Tierney and David Wright.

Tierney missed the home clash against Stockport with a thigh strain and remains doubtful, but Wright, who suffered a groin strain in February and aggravated the problem in training last week, is edging closer to fitness.

Chris McCready is out after undergoing a knee operation, while Steve Jones has been pencilled in to return from a fractured cheekbone against Bristol City on Tuesday.
Barnsley v Peterborough

Barnsley skipper Mitch Ward will return to the side for the home clash with Peterborough after recovering from a hamstring injury.

The midfielder was forced to sit out last week's defeat by Oldham, but after intensive treatment on the problem he passed a fitness test and seems certain to replace Lee Crooks.

Tykes boss Glynn Hodges should also be able to call on full-back Paul Gibbs, who is back in contention after groin and ankle injuries.

Peterborough could find themselves without a trio of strikers, with Jason Lee suspended, Andrew Fotiadis rated 50-50 following a heavy knock in the reserves, and Leon McKenzie a major doubt after turning his ankle.

But Simon Rea is set to return to the heart of the defence having made good progress from a groin injury.

On-loan Cambridge midfielder Tony Scully could also be involved after an impressive goalscoring debut in the reserves, but Adam Newton is still being kept out by an ankle injury.
3-div mm.
Swansea v Scunthorpe

Swansea could bring back four players against Scunthorpe.

Leon Britton is set to return with a face mask to protect a hairline fracture of the cheekbone, while James Thomas (hamstring), Kieron Durkan (Achilles) and Terry Evans all came through training.

Leon Hylton is also in contention after extending his loan deal from Aston Villa for a further month, but Kevin Nugent is suspended.

Scunthorpe have no fresh injury worries.

New signing Paul Dalglish is likely to start in attack while Richard Kell continued his comeback from a broken leg with another run-out for the reserves in midweek.
Wrexham v Bristol Rovers

Wrexham hope to have Paul Edwards and Steve Roberts available for the home clash with Bristol Rovers, after both players missed the midweek win at Shrewsbury.

Edwards, who had an injection in his ankle to allow him to play at Hull last weekend, took a heavy blow to his other ankle and subsequently missed out against the Shrews while Roberts, who has a long-standing heel problem, has also been struggling with toothache - but the club are confident the duo will be fit.

Ijah Anderson will undergo a fitness test to see whether he is fit to travel with the Rovers squad.

Anderson has missed the last two games with an ankle injury but, after intensive treatment, has started training again.

Kevin Austin has recovered from the dead leg that hampered him during Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Rochdale and is fit to play.

On-loan Rochdale left-winger Lee Hodges is also available after he was prevented from playing against his old club
Rushden & Diamonds v Lincoln

Rushden manager Brian Talbot is sweating on the fitness of three players ahead of the visit of Lincoln City.

Duane Darby should recover from a hamstring problem in time to stake his claim for a place in the starting line-up, Gary Setchell has been receiving treatment from the physio for a sore hamstring, while Daniel Talbot (ankle) is likely to be available for selection.

Lincoln manager Keith Alexander has several niggling injury problems to address - he fielded a patched-up side in the 1-0 defeat at home to Oxford and is likely to be in the same position again.

"There are umpteen little problems but, because our squad is so small, the lads will just have to battle on," he said.

Daniel Webb, who missed the Oxford game, is the most serious concern with a calf injury, and Paul Morgan (calf), Chris Ward, Paul Smith (both ankle) and Mark Bailey (back) are also struggling.

However, Dene Cropper is expected to return to the squad after a two-month absence with a knee ligament injury.

Cropper featured in the reserves' 3-1 win over Scunthorpe and is back in the reckoning.
Oxford v Kidderminster

Oxford could welcome back James Hunt and David Oldfield for the home game with Kidderminster.

Hunt has been out of acton with an ankle injury for the last few weeks while Oldfield has been sidelined since mid-March with a hamstring problem.

Dean Whitehead limped out of the reserves' win over Norwich in midweek with an ankle injury but is fit.

Lee Ayres is expected to miss out for Kidderminster - he has yet to recover from the gashed ankle he suffered during the loss at Lincoln last month.

Stuart Brock will retain his place in goal following the release of Fraser Digby, with John Danby on the bench.
(Ananova. Eurosport, Soccernet, Megasoccer)


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Viestit: 2138
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Viesti Kirjoittaja tallipoika »

Torino - Piacenza

Stadio Tardini - neutral ground


The situation is perhaps beyond repair for both these teams at this point, but the least they can fight for is some dignity to the end of this season.

The Granata had three men sent off in the 2-0 derby defeat to Juventus and all of them – Luca Mezzano, Carlos Marinelli, Cristiano Lucarelli plus Luca Bucci and Diego De Ascentis – will be suspended for this tie.

Marco Ferrante is their only remaining striker and may be supported by Vincenzo Sommese in a more advanced midfield role.

Piacenza threw away a lead to be caught 3-3 by Modena in last week’s local derby, a result that perhaps sealed their relegation. Amedeo Mangone returns from suspension just in time to replace the sidelined Filippo Cristante, while Gianluca Lamacchi is still injured. Teenager Francesco Zerbini is again given the nod to partner Dario Hubner.

Torino: (Probable) Manninger; Delli Carri, Fattori, Galante; Comotto, Conticchio, Vergassola, Donati, Castellini; Sommese; Ferrante

Piacenza: (Probable) Orlandoni; Gurenko, Mangone, Abbate, Tosto; Di Francesco, Baiocco, Maresca, Marchionni; Hubner, Zerbini


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