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Mm Litmanen avauksessa

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http://www.gazzetta.it/Calcio/prob_form ... nata.shtml

ROME, Feb 4 (Reuters) - AC Milan, who returned to form in midweek following successive defeats, continue their pursuit of Serie A leaders Juventus when they host Lazio at the San Siro stadium on Sunday (kickoff 1930 GMT).

The champions slipped eight points off the pace following back-to-back defeats against Livorno and Bologna, but got the defence of their title back on track midweek with a 4-1 demolition of Messina.

Milan 45 points from 22 games, five behind Juventus, who suffered a surprise 1-0 home defeat by Sampdoria on Wednesday.

With Juve facing a tricky visit to seventh-placed Palermo, Milan will want to benefit from any slip-up with victory against a Lazio side in freefall.

The Rome-based club is used to challenging for top honours but the exodus of key players is beginning to bite.

Having started the season strongly they are now in danger of dropping into the relegation zone. A drab 0-0 draw against fellow strugglers Brescia on Wednesday earned them their first point in four matches.

Lazio coach Giuseppe Papadopulo can at least look forward to the returns of winger Cesar, defender Fernando Couto and midfielder Guilliano Giannichedda, all of whom were suspended against Brescia.

Even so, their chances of upsetting Milan remain remote.

Despite the continued absence of striker Andriy Shevchenko, who is still recovering from a foot injury, Milan showed against Messina how dangerous they remain in attack with Hernan Crespo and Jon Dahl Tomasson grabbing a brace each.

Other Serie A matches (league position in brackets, kickoff times 1400 GMT unless stated):

Playing on Saturday:

SAMPDORIA (5) v FIORENTINA (16) (1700)

Fiorentina coach Dino Zoff is still looking for his first win since taking over last month.

He faces a tough task breaking his duck against in-form Sampdoria, who climbed to fifth in the standings midweek with a 1-0 win over leaders Juventus.

- - - -

PALERMO (7) v JUVENTUS (1) (1930)

Juventus aim to make amends for their home defeat by Sampdoria by beating a Palermo side that has not won at home since the middle of December.

Pavel Nedved is recovering from a knee injury and is expected to be replaced by Ruben Olivera, while midfielder Mauro Camoranesi misses the match through suspension.

- - - -

Playing on Sunday:


Livorno's recent form has been unpredictable, with a win over AC Milan being followed by defeat to Chievo Verona.

Atalanta appear doomed to relegation and lie nine points adrift at the bottom of the table.

- - - -


Udinese ended a run of three defeats in a row with a comfortable 3-0 win over Chievo on Wednesday.

Brescia are expected to field a strike partnership of Andrea Caracciolo and new-signing Marco Delvecchio as they continue their battle against relegation.

- - - -

CAGLIARI (10) v LECCE (11)

Lecce's midweek 1-1 draw with Roma was the latest in a series of good performances that have earned them seven points from their last three games.

Their chances of a positive result at Cagliari are hampered by the suspensions of midfielders Marco Cassetti, Guillermo Giacomazzi, Cristian Ledesma and Samuele Dalla Bona.

- - - -


Chievo and Messina will be keen for a win to help them escape the bottom half of the table.

The home side start without defender John Mensah and midfielder Daniele Franceschini, who are suffering with flu, while Messina coach Bortolo Mutti must do without suspended defender Rahman Rezaei for the first time this season.

- - - -


In the absence of Adriano, who is still recovering from a calf injury, Inter Milan look set to start Obafemi Martins alongside Christian Vieri in attack.

Parma have given themselves a fighting chance of escaping the relegation zone after winning three of their last five matches, but start without midfielder Jorge Bolano, who is suspended.

- - - -

REGGINA (8) v SIENA (18)

Reggina's unbeaten start to 2005 has catapulted them up the standings.

They will fancy their chances of picking up all three points against lowly Siena, who have lost their influential Brazilian midfielder Taddei to injury.

- - - -


Roma continue their push for a Champions League place, but will be wary of Bologna, who can claim to be Serie A's most in-form side.

Roma's Italian international defender Matteo Ferrari is suspended and is expected to be replaced by Giuseppe Scurto
Ajaccio - Istres

Stade François-Coty


Istres’ hopes of a miracle Ligue 1 survival feat took a blow with last weekend’s 1-0 loss at home to Nantes. The defeat was the first for the southerners’ new coaching duo of Xavier Gravelaine and Jean-Louis Gasset.

Currently last in the standings, five points from safety and with the worst attack in the league, Istres will again be looking to winter recruits Philippe Delaye and Ibrahima Bakayoko to carve out a route to goal against fellow strugglers Ajaccio.

Victims of the weather last Saturday when their match against Saint-Etienne was called off due to a frozen pitch, Ajaccio are currently 17th - just one point clear of the relegation zone - and know that victory is crucial for their own survival hopes.

Auxerre - Saint-Etienne

Stade de l’Abbé Deschamps


Guy Roux described his side’s defending in last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Metz as 'disgraceful' and will be hoping for more from his experienced backline against a Saint-Etienne side still reeling from Tuesday’s semi-final elimination from the Coupe de la Ligue.

The loss cost Auxerre third place in the league and Roux’s black mood was darkened further when he learned on Monday that influential midfield captain Yann Lachuer would be missing for another month after suffering from a stress fracture.

Saint-Etienne Coach Elie Baup waved goodbye last week to out-of-favour striker Anthony Le Tallec, who returned to Liverpool only six months into a season-long loan deal, but he does have a fully-fit Lamine Sakho ready for action after signing from Marseille last week

Bordeaux - Bastia

Stade Chaban-Delmas


Bordeaux became the latest side to fall victim of Rennes' home fortress when they went down 2-0 last time out, but Coach Michel Pavon can finally align his preferred midfield with the return of France international Camel Meriem to full fitness after a thigh strain.

Bastia earned a crucial point at home to league leaders Lyon on Tuesday and could see all four of their January recruits in action for the trip to Bordeaux.

Coach François Ciccolini can add latest signing Christian Karembeu alongside Bernt Haas, Malek Cherrad and Stéphane Ziani but will be without the services of defender Cédric Uras, sent off against Lyon

Lille - Sochaux

Stadium Lille Métropole de Villeneuve d'Ascq


Claude Puel’s Lille welcome Sochaux to the Stadium Lille Métropole on Saturday desperate for all three points to keep pace with leaders Lyon.

Since handing leaders Lyon their first defeat of the season three weeks ago, second-placed Lille have seen the title race swing back in their rival’s favour following consecutive league draws away to Nice and Caen.

Already deprived of the services of Nigerian forward Peter Odemwingie, Coach Puel is ruing the injury picked up by top scorer Matt Moussilou during the trip to Nice and will have been worried by his side’s inability to find the back of the net despite dominating Caen from start to finish.

If Lille do have a weakness, it is in attack where Slovenian Milenko Acimovic has only shown glimpses of last season’s brilliant form. The former Tottenham striker should nonetheless get another chance to improve his goal tally, partnering Johan Audel in attack.

Sochaux’s recent good results have finally put paid to the poor form which saw them go six games without a win either side of the Christmas break. The men from the Stade Bonal have gone three games without defeat, including a thumping 4-0 victory at home to Bordeaux before upsetting Marseille 2-0 at the Stade Vélodrome two weeks ago.

Guy Lacombe’s promising young side will have studied the tapes of Lille’s last two games and will be confident that their trademark counter-attacking football could once again pay dividends against a team beginning to doubt its lofty league status.

Nigerian playmaker Wilson Oruma is still limited to light jogging following a knee injury, but the club’s leading scorer, Brazilian Araujo Ilan, is fully fit again after missing the last two games with a thigh strain.

The first game between these two sides this campaign ended 2-0 in favour of Lille, thanks to a Lionel Potillon own goal and a Philippe Brunel penalty.

Lyon - Toulouse

Stade Gerland


Leaders Lyon extended their lead over Lille to five points with a disappointing draw with relegation-threatened Bastia on Tuesday. Michael Essien’s superb headed goal not enough to deny a tenacious ten-man Corsican outfit who equalised through Pascal Chimbonda in the second half.

Toulouse will be hoping for an equally-generous Lyon if they are to maintain contact with the top five. Still sixth in the league, TFC have seen the gap to fifth-placed Marseille stretch to six points and Coach Erik Mombaerts men are in danger of undoing all their brilliant work if they slip up again.

Nantes - Monaco

La Beaujoire


At different ends of the Ligue 1 table, both sides come off moral-boosting wins. Nantes’ hard-fought 1-0 win over bottom club Istres will not have convinced the sceptics that new Coach Serge Le Dizet has miraculously turned the Canaries into world beaters, but the win has enabled them to keep pace with those above them.

Nantes also announced the signing of 24-year-old Guillaume Norbert this week from Angers, and hope the versatile player will add a new dimension on the right side of midfield.

Monaco, who climbed above Auxerre into third place last Sunday with their comprehensive 2-0 win over PSG, still have a game in hand over both Lille and Lyon.

Didier Deschamps has resigned himself to the loss of Shabani Nonda at the end of the season. The Congolese striker announced his intention to move on having failed to force his way into the side following knee surgery in late 2003.

Nice - Metz

Stade Municipal du Ray


Separated by just a single point in the table, Nice and Metz enjoyed mixed fortunes last weekend. The Cote d’Azur side came away from Sochaux with their second battling draw in two games and the side seems to have rediscovered its solidity at the back, so typical of Gernot Rohr teams.

For Metz, the impact of loan signing Bartholomew Ogbeche was immediate. The Nigerian international proved the driving force behind his new side’s 3-0 demolition job of Auxerre and will certainly ease the pain of star playmaker Franck Ribéry’s surprise departure for Galatasaray on Monday

Nice - Metz

Stade Municipal du Ray


Separated by just a single point in the table, Nice and Metz enjoyed mixed fortunes last weekend. The Cote d’Azur side came away from Sochaux with their second battling draw in two games and the side seems to have rediscovered its solidity at the back, so typical of Gernot Rohr teams.

For Metz, the impact of loan signing Bartholomew Ogbeche was immediate. The Nigerian international proved the driving force behind his new side’s 3-0 demolition job of Auxerre and will certainly ease the pain of star playmaker Franck Ribéry’s surprise departure for Galatasaray on Monday

Paris Saint-Germain - Lens

Parc des Princes


A match between Paris Saint-Germain and Lens would normally take place in the higher reaches of Ligue 1 if recent seasons are anything to go by, but there has been nothing normal about this campaign for either of these two ambitious clubs.

11th and 13th in the standings respectively, PSG and Lens currently share much more in common than they would like. Both have seen their hopes of finishing among the European places dwindle, both have experienced increasingly fraught relations with their supporters and both have brought in a new No. 11 to inject fresh competition into morale-sapped squads.

In PSG's case, that man is Sergei Semak and the Parc des Princes crowd will be raring to get a good look at their latest acquisition after the Russian put in an encouraging 60 minutes in last Sunday's 2-0 loss away to Monaco.

Lens have picked up 21-year-old 'Jussie' Ferreira Vieira, but Coach Francis Gillot is unlikely to rush the Brazilian into action. "We'll have to see what his fitness level is like first, and give him some time to adapt," he said. Sang et Or insiders regard him primarily as a talent for the future rather than a quick fix.

That should mean Olivier Thomert starting up front again as a reward for his priceless double against Strasbourg on Saturday, in Lens's first league win in 2005. PSG, on the other hand, have yet to register a victory in 'le championnat' this year, but will draw confidence from their impressive record in this fixture.

The capital club have won 21 of the 27 clashes between these two sides at the Parc, while Lens have prevailed just three times - the most recent dating back to 1998.

PSG will be kitted out in white for Sunday's encounter and Lens will wear black in support of the Thierry-Henry sponsored 'Stand Up Speak Up' anti-racism campaign.

Strasbourg - Caen

Stade de la Meinau


Surprise Coupe de la Ligue finalists Strasbourg and Caen will get a close look at each other this weekend, but there are also important points at stake for both teams as they bid for Ligue 1 survival.

Strasbourg became the first side to qualify for the final with Tuesday 1-0 victory over Saint-Etienne. Alexander Farnerud’s single strike alleviates some of the pressure on Jacky Dugérépoux’s men after a recent poor run has seen the Alsace side dip back into relegation trouble.

Caen, who amazingly saw off Monaco 3-1 on Wednesday, have kept two straight cleansheets in the league, including a 0-0 draw with high-flying Lille. As a result, they have climbed back out of the relegation zone, reversing a trend that had seen them dropping steadily down the table.

MADRID, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo knows anything less than a sixth straight league win against Espanyol at home on Saturday (kickoff 2100 GMT) will ease the pressure on leaders Barcelona.

The Brazilian's appointment at the end of last year has coincided with a revival in Real's league fortunes although they will be tested by Espanyol, the season's surprise team.

"Real are behind in the race for the title and the only thing we can do is to keep winning and waiting," says Luxemburgo. "The players have to show that they have the hunger to win and must focus on each match."

Real eked out a 2-1 win over basement side Numancia last week, maintaining a seven-point gap with Barcelona who produced a devastating second-half performance to crush Sevilla 4-0.

Morale is high at Real and Luxemburgo appears to have grafted a more competitive edge on to a team which looked short of confidence at the start of the season.

"He makes us work hard and he organises the team perfectly," says David Beckham. "That's just what the team needed. Everyone is less agitated now that he is in charge."

Real will be boosted by the return of Ronaldo who missed last week's game after rushing back to Brazil because of a family illness. Espanyol will be without their inspirational centre-forward Raul Tamudo who is serving a one-match ban.

Espanyol beat Real 1-0 when the two sides met earlier this season and are riding high in fourth place after their best start in the league in a decade.

"We are in an enviable position in the league," says coach Miguel Angel Lotina. "We won't win the league but apart from that there is no limit to our ambition."

Other matches being played this weekend (league positions in brackets, kickoff times 1600 GMT unless stated):



Sociedad are in crisis after a fifth defeat in a row with last week's 4-0 drubbing at Villarreal. The Basques are unlikely to find any respite from Claudio Ranieri's Valencia who lost ground on the leading duo after drawing 2-2 at home to Bilbao last week.

- - - -

Sunday (kickoffs 1600 GMT unless stated):


A difficult one to call between two sides who have struggled to find any consistency this season. Albacete dropped into the relegation zone after their 3-1 defeat at Atletico. Zaragoza will be without talented midfielder Cani who scored the winner against Malaga last time out. - - - -


Barca reasserted their championship credentials when they inflicted a first home defeat of the season on Sevilla with a 4-0 victory at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

They now face another stern test against an unspectacular and well-organised Atletico. With Ronaldinho back to his best and Samuel Eto'o in seemingly unstoppable form up front the Catalans should emerge with the points. - - - -


Mid-table obscurity beckons for Deportivo unless they can string together a few victories. With centre-forward Walter Pandiani going on loan to Birmingham City, striker Diego Tristan will be under pressure to rediscover his scoring form. Athletic have been boosted by their progress into the semi-finals of the Cup this week. - - - -


Numancia gave a spirited performance in their 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid last week. However, they need to start winning matches if they are to stand any chance of preserving their top flight status. Numancia have gleaned just one point away from home this season and are sure to be given a rough ride by a combative Getafe side.

- - - -


Sevilla will be out to renew their bid for a place in the Champions League after their midweek exit from the Cup at the hands of Osusuna and should get the better of Bernd Schuster's side who are still without injured defender Ian Harte.

- - - -


A tense contest is guaranteed between two sides battling to stave off relegation.

Hector Cuper's Mallorca remain in deep trouble despite claiming their first victory in seven outings with a 3-1 win at home to Getafe last week. Malaga are only four points ahead of them following their defeat at Zaragoza.

- - - -


An intriguing clash in prospect between two teams that reached the semi-finals of the Cup earlier in the week. Betis twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw at Espanyol last week and have lost only once at home this term. Osasuna can count on a fit-again Savo Milosevic to lead their streetwise attack. - - - -


The form side in Spain at the moment, Villarreal made it four wins in a row with their 4-0 trouncing of Sociedad last time out.

With former Barcelona player Juan Roman Riquelme directing affairs in midfield and Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan knocking in the goals up front the Mediterranean side look much too strong for struggling Racing. --------------------------- - - -
VfB Stuttgart
Aufstellung: 1 Hildebrand - 3 Stranzl, 6 Fernando Meira, 5 Babbel - 20 Soldo, 7 Meißner - 2 Hinkel, 10 A. Hleb, 12 H. Gerber - 22 Kuranyi, 18 Cacau - Trainer: Sammer

Reserve: 23 Heinen (Tor), 31 Benaglio (Tor), 4 Zivkovic, 8 Vranjes, 13 Tiffert, 16 Heldt, 17 Delpierre, 19 Szabics, 26 Caligiuri, 33 Gomez

Es fehlen: 9 Streller (Reha nach Scheinbein-Operation), 15 Élson (Trainingsrückstand), 21 Lahm (Mittelfußbruch)

Gelbsperre droht: Cacau (4)

Zum Spiel: Die Schwaben mussten in den ersten beiden Spielen bereits sechs Gegentore hinnehmen. Deswegen ließ Sammer unter der Woche vor allem das Defensivverhalten trainieren. Mit Soldo kehrt der Taktgeber des VfB nach Gelbsperre wieder ins Team zurück.

1. FC Kaiserslautern
Aufstellung: 21 T. Ernst - 2 Lembi, 5 Hertzsch, 32 Mettomo, 16 Blank - 23 Riedl - 8 Grammozis, 13 Sforza, 20 Engelhardt - 19 Halil Altintop, 11 Amanatidis - Trainer: Jara

Reserve: 15 Macho (Tor), 3 Tchato, 4 Wenzel, 9 Jancker, 10 Zandi, 14 Mikic, 17 Seitz, 18 Gjasula, 24 Nurmela, 25 M. Lehmann, 29 Teber, 30 Kosowski

Es fehlen: 1 Wiese (Kreuzbandriss), 6 Nerlinger (Trainingsrückstand), 7 Ramzy (Trainingsrückstand), 33 Wittich (Trainingsrückstand)

Gelbsperre droht: Riedl (4), Hertzsch (4), Zandi (4), Wenzel (4)

Zum Spiel: Die Pfälzer haben aus den letzten fünf Spielen 13 von 15 möglichen Punkten gesammelt. Bleiben sie auch im sechsten Spiel in Folge ungeschlagen, kann sich die Jara-Elf sogar noch Hoffnungen auf die internationalen Plätze machen.
Hannover 96
Aufstellung: 1 Enke - 6 Cherundolo, 29 Mertesacker, 3 Zuraw, 35 Halfar - 8 Lala, 22 de Guzman - 17 Krupnikovic - 11 Stendel, 9 Christiansen, 15 Paunovic - Trainer: Lienen

Reserve: 25 Juric (Tor), 2 Vinicius, 5 Dabrowski, 13 Wallner, 14 T. Schneider, 19 Stefulj, 20 But, 21 Leandro, 24 Stajner, 29 Kaufman, 32 D. Wolf

Es fehlen: 4 Diouf (Meniskus-OP), 16 Barnetta (Reha nach Kreuzbandriss), 18 Tarnat (Meniskus-OP), 27 Schröter (Knochenhautentzündung)

Gelbsperre droht: de Guzman (4)

Zum Spiel: Mit Paunovic konnten sich die Niedersachsen unter der Woche nochmals verstärken. Der Serbe wird gleich als dritter Stürmer auflaufen. Auch Mertesacker, der unter der Woche eine leichte Grippe hatte, ist gegen Dortmund dabei.

Borussia Dortmund
Aufstellung: 1 Weidenfeller - 2 Evanilson, 4 Wörns, 35 Brzenska, 17 Dede - 6 Kringe, 5 Kehl, 22 Kruska - 14 Smolarek, 9 Koller, 18 Ricken - Trainer: Van Marwijk

Reserve: 26 Warmuz (Tor), 7 Demel, 11 O. Addo, 15 N. Jensen, 23 Madouni, 25 Senesie, 28 Bergdölmo

Es fehlen: 3 Fernandez (Leiste), 10 Rosicky (Muskelfaserriss), 12 Ewerthon (Syndesmose-Teilabriss), 16 Oliseh (Rücken), 21 C. Metzelder (Muskelfaserriss), 24 Odonkor (Aufbautraining), 33 Gambino (Außenband-Teilriss im Sprunggelenk)

Gelbsperre droht: Demel (4)

Zum Spiel: Bei Dortmund müssen Metzelder und Rosicky erneut pausieren, weil deren Muskelfaserrisse noch nicht auskuriert sind. Wollen die Borussen Anschluss ans Mittelfeld halten, ist ein Sieg beim Tabellensechsten Pflicht.
VfL Bochum
Aufstellung: 13 Vander - 5 Colding, 6 Kalla, 4 Maltritz, 24 P. Bönig - 17 Preuß, 8 Zdebel - 10 Wosz - 9 P. Madsen, 11 Lokvenc, 21 Trojan - Trainer: Neururer

Reserve: 35 Skov-Jensen (Tor), 2 Bemben, 7 Bechmann, 16 Misimovic, 18 F. Tapalovic, 22 Edu, 23 Tekkan, 34 Fatih

Es fehlen: 1 van Duijnhoven (Achillessehnen-Beschwerden), 3 Meichelbeck (leichter Bandscheibenvorfall), 15 Knavs (Faserriss im Oberschenkel), 19 Diabang (Kreuzbandriss)

Zum Spiel: Nach der 0:4-Pleite in Leverkusen heißt es Wiedergutmachung zu betreiben. Gelingt im "Endspiel" gegen Bielefeld kein Sieg, droht Bochum der fünfte Erstliga-Abstieg. Auch Neururer dürfte nur ein "Dreier" helfen, sonst wird die Luft dünn.

Arminia Bielefeld
Aufstellung: 1 Hain - 22 Owomoyela, 32 Langkamp, 4 Gabriel, 3 Borges - 5 Kauf, 6 Dammeier - 14 Küntzel, 11 Skela, 7 Buckley - 10 Vata - Trainer: Rapolder

Reserve: 23 Eilhoff (Tor), 26 Kockel (Tor), 8 Trajanov, 9 Raducanu, 13 Fink, 15 Bogusz, 17 Rauw, 19 Duro, 20 Djalovic, 21 Porcello, 24 Leon, 25 Heithölter, 27 Wieczorek, 28 Grieneisen, 29 Holsing, 30 Pinto, 33 Yildiz, 35 Cerci, 36 Wisio

Es fehlen: 2 Schuler (Meniskus-Operation), 16 Lense (Oberschenkelverletzung), 18 Boakye (Stauchung des Kniegelenks)

Zum Spiel: Zuletzt nur ein Punkt aus fünf Spielen, mit einer weiteren Niederlage wäre die gute Vorrunde bereits verspielt und die Rapolder-Elf rutscht weiter ab. Ohne Buckley-Tore verliert die Mannschaft, seit 554 Minuten dauert die Ladehemmung an.
Bayern München
Aufstellung: 1 Kahn - 20 Salihamidzic, 3 Lucio, 5 R. Kovac, 69 Lizarazu - 8 Frings, 23 Hargreaves, 13 Ballack, 11 Zé Roberto - 10 Makaay, 14 Pizarro - Trainer: Magath

Reserve: 22 Rensing (Tor), 6 Demichelis, 9 Hashemian, 15 Rau, 16 Jeremies, 21 Zickler, 25 T. Linke, 26 Deisler, 31 Schweinsteiger, 33 Guerrero

Es fehlen: 2 Sagnol (Lauftraining nach Syndesmoseriss), 4 Kuffour (Grippe), 7 Scholl (Kapsel- und Bänderzerrung im Knie), 18 Görlitz (Aufbautraining nach Kreuzbandriss), 24 Santa Cruz (Trainingsrückstand)

Gelbsperre droht: Hargreaves (4)

Zum Spiel: Scholl wird weiter vom Pech verfolgt und fehlt wegen einer Knieverletzung. Trotzdem zählt für das heimstärkste Team der Liga nur ein Sieg, sonst wird das Gedrängel um die vorderen Plätze zu groß. Gelingt dies, wäre Bayer bereits neun Punkte zurück.

Bayer Leverkusen
Aufstellung: 1 Butt - 25 B. Schneider, 4 Juan, 5 Nowotny, 35 Placente - 28 Ramelow - 10 Freier, 7 Ponte, 16 Krzynowek - 9 Berbatov, 12 Voronin - Trainer: Augenthaler

Reserve: 20 Starke (Tor), 11 Franca, 13 Bierofka, 15 S. Öztürk, 17 Castro, 19 Babic, 23 Donovan, 29 Callsen-Bracker

Es fehlen: 3 Roque Junior (Knieentzündung), 17 C. Fritz (Trainingsrückstand)

Gelbsperre droht: Ponte (4)

Zum Spiel: Mit einer Serie von fünf Spielen ohne Niederlage, nur ein Remis und 12:2 Toren reist die Augenthaler-Elf an. Gelingt ihnen ohne Roque Junior, der erneut ausfällt, die Überraschung, hätten die Bayern nur noch drei Punkte mehr auf dem Konto.
FSV Mainz 05
Aufstellung: 1 Wache - 28 Abel, 10 M. Friedrich, 4 Noveski, 17 Rose - 8 F. Gerber, 6 Balitsch, 19 Babatz, 25 da Silva - 7 Auer, 15 Teinert - Trainer: Klopp

Reserve: 23 Hoffmeister (Tor), 29 Wetklo (Tor), 9 D. Weiland, 14 Kramny, 16 Weber, 18 Nikolic, 20 Jovanovic, 21 Casey, 22 N. Weiland, 24 Weigelt, 26 Bodog, 27 Thurk, 31 Demirtas

Es fehlen: 3 Falkenmayer (Trainingsrückstand)

Zum Spiel: Null Punkte aus fünf Spielen. Allmählich wird es auch für die Mainzer eng, die nur nach dem 1. Spieltag als Sechzehnter einen schlechteren Tabellenplatz einnahmen, als vor dem 20. Spieltag (14.). Jetzt heißt es, die Heimstärke auszuspielen.

Hertha BSC
Aufstellung: 12 Fiedler - 3 A. Friedrich, 4 van Burik, 14 Simunic - 5 N. Kovac - 32 T. Marx, 7 Bastürk, 11 Gilberto - 15 Reina, 20 Neuendorf - 24 Rafael - Trainer: Götz

Reserve: 1 Tremmel (Tor), 8 Dardai, 13 Bobic, 16 Dejagah, 17 Madlung, 18 Wichniarek, 19 Schmidt, 22 O. Schröder, 23 Cagara, 25 Ludwig, 29 Fathi, 33 Rehmer, 34 Salihovic

Es fehlen: 10 Marcelinho (5. Gelbe Karte), 37 Chr. Müller (Schien- und Wadenbeinbruch)

Gelbsperre droht: M. Friedrich (4), T. Marx (4), N. Kovac (9)

Zum Spiel: Mit seiner fünften Gelben Karte fällt der beste Berliner aus, für Top-Scorer Marcelinho wird Neuendorf eine Chance bekommen. Mit einem Sieg könnten die Berliner im Kampf um die internationalen Plätze wichtige Punkte sammeln
1. FC Nürnberg
Aufstellung: 18 Klewer - 5 A. Wolf, 4 Hajto, 7 Nikl, 17 L. Müller - 26 Wagefeld, 16 Larsen, 24 Lagerblom - 11 Mintal - 9 Daun, 21 Schroth - Trainer: Wolf

Reserve: 12 Langerbein (Tor), 3 Wiblishauser, 8 Ketelaer, 10 Banovic, 14 Leandro Silva, 27 Kießling, 31 Paulus, 33 Vittek, 34 Slovak

Es fehlen: 1 Schäfer (Innenbandabriss im Knie), 6 S. Müller (5. Gelbe Karte), 13 Cantaluppi (5. Gelbe Karte), 20 Bosacki (Rückstand nach Hüftverletzung), 22 Aidoo (Achillessehnen-Reizung), 28 D. Reinhardt (Reha nach Muskelfaserriss im Oberschenkel)

Zum Spiel: Mit der fünften Gelben Karte fallen beim Club S. Müller und Cantaluppi aus. Mit dem Sieg in Stuttgart steht das Team wieder im Mittelfeld. Gegen den HSV muss aber endlich mal wieder ein Heimsieg her, um die Fans zu versöhnen.

Hamburger SV
Aufstellung: 1 Pieckenhagen - 2 Schlicke, 21 Boulahrouz, 5 van Buyten, 16 Klingbeil - 7 Mahdavikia, 6 Wicky, 22 Beinlich - 14 Jarolim - 25 Mpenza, 10 Barbarez - Trainer: Doll

Reserve: 23 Wächter (Tor), 4 B. Reinhardt, 8 Moreira, 11 Lauth, 13 L. Haas, 17 Donde, 18 Hampel, 19 Kucukovic, 20 V. Hleb, 24 Brecko, 27 Laas, 28 Benjamin, 32 Takahara

Es fehlen: 15 Trochowski (Sprunggelenk-Operation)

Gelbsperre droht: Boulahrouz (4)

Zum Spiel: Die Devise von Doll ist vor dem Spiel klar, der Trainer will "oben andocken". Klar ist aber auch, dass man nach einer Niederlage erneut nur im unbedeutenden Mittelfeld rangiert. Mit Mahdavikia wollen die Hanseaten die drei Punkte erspielen.
Hansa Rostock
Aufstellung: 1 Schober - 2 Tjikuzu, 3 Möhrle, 20 Hill, 33 Hartmann - 8 D. Rasmussen, 17 Lantz, 28 Litmanen, 27 T. Rasmussen - 24 Allbäck, 19 di Salvo - Trainer: Berger

Reserve: 21 A. Keller (Tor), 5 K. Madsen, 6 Maul, 7 Rydlewicz, 10 Meggle, 11 Prica, 14 Persson, 15 Arvidsson, 23 Lapaczinski, 30 Vorbeck

Es fehlen: 18 Melkam (Knieprobleme)

Gelbsperre droht: Möhrle (4), Hill (4)

Zum Spiel: Mit Litmanen und Hartmann haben sich die Hanseaten verstärkt. Nun müssen Ergebnisse folgen, nur ein Sieg kann das heimschwache Team – erst zwei Punkte – noch hoffen lassen. Es sind bereits neun Punkte Rückstand auf den 15. Platz.

FC Schalke 04
Aufstellung: 1 F. Rost - 23 Lamotte, 15 Waldoch, 20 Krstajic, 16 Rodriguez - 2 Poulsen - 6 Hamit Altintop, 17 Vermant - 10 Lincoln - 11 Sand, 9 Ailton - Trainer: Rangnick

Reserve: 13 Heimeroth (Tor), Cebe, 7 Delura, 16 Rodriguez, 26 Hanke, 27 Hoogland, 32 Bungert

Es fehlen: 3 Kobiashvili (5. Gelbe Karte), 4 Kläsener (Leiste), 5 Bordon (Achillessehne), 12 van Hoogdalem (Trainingsrückstand), 14 Asamoah (5. Gelbe Karte), 18 Oude Kamphuis (Trainingsrückstand), 19 Varela (Aufbautraining), 24 Pander (Magen-Darm-Infekt), 31 Kmetsch (Reha), 33 Azaouagh (Aufbautraining)

Gelbsperre droht: Poulsen (4)

Zum Spiel: Abwehrchef Bordon ist verletzt und Pander krank, Asamoah und Kobiashvili fallen auf Grund von Gelbsperren aus. Rangnick möchte trotzdem gewinnen, dazu müssen aber die Konzentrationsschwächen der letzten Woche abgeschaltet werden.
Bor. M'gladbach
Aufstellung: 26 Keller - 14 Fukal, 18 Moore, 7 Strasser, 3 Daems - 16 Thijs - 24 Kluge, 11 Böhme - 9 Sonck, 25 Sverkos, 27 Neuville - Trainer: Advocaat

Reserve: 1 Kampa (Tor), 31 Melka (Tor), 5 van Kerckhoven, 6 Demo, 8 Ulich, 13 van Hout, 15 Pletsch, 19 Korzynietz, 21 Hausweiler, 28 Heinz, 29 Broich, 32 Jansen, 40 Polanski

Es fehlen: 10 Elber (Reha nach Beinbruch), 22 Kirch (Knorpelschaden im Knie), 23 Ziege (Sprunggelenk), 30 Ramovic (nicht im Kader)

Gelbsperre droht: Ziege (4), Korzynietz (4)

Zum Spiel: Gegen den direkten Konkurrenten haben die Borussen die Chance, den Abstand auf die Freiburger auf neun Punkte auszubauen. Hoffnung machen die starke Heimbilanz und die Neueinkäufe des Winters, die sich in den ersten Spielen gut eingefügt haben.

SC Freiburg
Aufstellung: 1 Golz - 22 Riether, 4 Khizaneishvili, 3 Mohamad, 19 Ibertsberger - 6 Bajramovic, 7 Tskitishvili, 11 Kruppke - 8 Cairo, 9 Iashvili, 10 Coulibaly - Trainer: Finke

Reserve: 36 Reinard (Tor), 2 Schumann, 5 Kondé, 12 Koejoe, 13 Müller, 15 Berner, 17 Diarra, 20 Antar, 23 Sanou, 26 Dorn, 27 Pitroipa, 32 Hollmann, 33 Tanko

Es fehlen: 14 Ramdane (im Aufbautraining), 16 Hermel (Muskelfaserriss), 18 Olajengbesi (im Aufbautraining), 21 Bührer (im Aufbautraining), 24 Reus (Muskelfaserriss), 38 Aogo (im Aufbautraining)

Zum Spiel: Will man dem Abstieg noch entkommen, muss gepunktet werden. Die Hoffnungen ruhen vor allem auf Bajramovic, der bereits letzte Woche wieder in der Anfangself war und stets für Gefahr sorgte. Mut macht auch die im Winter verstärkte Abwehr
VfL Wolfsburg
Aufstellung: 1 Jentzsch - 2 Rytter, 18 Quiroga, 5 Schnoor, 7 Weiser - 31 Sarpei, 27 Karhan, 6 Thiam - 14 Topic, 13 Brdaric, 21 M. Petrov - Trainer: Gerets

Reserve: 30 Lenz (Tor), 3 Biliskov, 11 T. Maric, 26 Fischer, 33 Franz, 34 Präger, 36 Menseguez, 41 Makiadi

Es fehlen: 8 Hristov (Knieverletzung), 9 Klimowicz (Hüftprobleme), 10 D'Alessandro (fehlende Fitness), 20 Hrgovic (Knieverletzung), 29 Hofland (Gelb-Rot-Sperre)

Gelbsperre droht: Schnoor (4), Karhan (4), M. Petrov (4)

Zum Spiel: Aus den letzten sechs Spielen sprang gerade mal ein Sieg heraus, sonst nur Niederlagen. Als Achter ist die tolle Ausgangssituation längst verspielt. Eine weitere Niederlage und der VfL hat eine handfeste Krise und ist nur noch Mittelmaß.

Werder Bremen
Aufstellung: 1 Reinke - 5 Davala, 3 Pasanen, 2 Fahrenhorst, 13 Gustavo Nery - 24 Borowski, 6 Baumann, 4 F. Ernst - 10 Micoud - 11 Klose, 17 Klasnic - Trainer: Schaaf

Reserve: 31 Walke (Tor), 7 Stalteri, 14 Hunt, 20 D. Jensen, 23 Magnin, 27 Schulz, 35 Stier, 38 Valdez

Es fehlen: 8 Lisztes (Trainingsrückstand nach Kreuzbandriss), 16 Borel (nicht berücksichtigt), 21 Zidan (Syndesmoseriss), 25 Ismaël (5. Gelbe Karte)

Gelbsperre droht: Valdez (4)

Zum Spiel: Mit Ismaël fällt wegen Gelbsperre einer der wichtigsten Spieler aus. Werder kommt mit der besten Tordifferenz der Liga nach Wolfsburg, diese wollen sie verbessern, aber das geht nur mit einem Sieg. Ein Punkt ist Pflicht, sonst zieht der VfL vorbei.
Aston Villa v Arsenal

Villa Park
Saturday, 5 February
Kick-off: 1715 GMT


Eric Djemba-Djemba is set to make his first start for Aston Villa, replacing Lee Hendrie who has a virus.

Luke Moore could make only his second Premiership start after impressing as a substitute against Fulham, and Jlloyd Samuel returns after a one-match ban.

Arsenal have recalled Edu and he looks set to play, while goalkeeper Jens Lehmann may replace Manuel Almunia.

Either Philippe Senderos or Justin Hoyte will step in for injured centre back Sol Campbell.

Aston Villa (from): Sorensen, De La Cruz, Mellberg, Ridgewell, Barry, Samuel, Solano, Djemba-Djemba, Davis, Berson, Hitzlsperger, Cole, Moore, Angel, Laursen, Postma.

Arsenal (from): Almunia, Lehmann, Lauren, Eboue, Hoyte, Cole, Clichy, Cygan, Senderos, Vieira, Edu, Flamini, Fabregas, Pires, Reyes, Ljungberg, van Persie, Bergkamp, Henry

Man Utd v Birmingham

Old Trafford
Saturday, 5 February
Kick-off: 1500 GMT


Manchester United striker Alan Smith is out for another fortnight as he bids to recovery from an ankle injury.

Mikael Silvestre (suspended) is set to be replaced by Wes Brown, while Darren Fletcher (hamstring) is also ruled out.

Birmingham boss Steve Bruce may hand a first start to Mehdi Nafti, as Stephen Clemence's partner is expecting a baby.

Emile Heskey (achilles), Stan Lazaridis (thigh), Darren Anderton (groin), Salif Diao (calf) and Muzzy Izzet (knee) are out and Robbie Blake (calf) is a doubt.


Man Utd (from): Carroll, Howard. G Neville, P Neville, Brown, Ferdinand, O'Shea, Heinze, Fortune, Ronaldo, Scholes, Keane, Miller, Giggs, Saha, Rooney, Bellion.

Birmingham (from): Taylor, Melchiot, Cunningham, Upson, Clapham. Pennant, Johnson, Clemence, Gray, Blake, Pandiani, Nafti, Tebily, Morrison, Vaesen, Carter, Kuqi, Till

Crystal Palace v Bolton

Selhurst Park
Saturday, 5 February
Kick-off: 1245 GMT


Crystal Palace defender Darren Powell faces a late fitness test on a hamstring problem.

Danny Granville is struggling with a back problem, Gonzalo Sorondo is suspended and Joonas Kolkka (ribs) is still a week away from a return.

Ex-Roma defender Vincent Candela is pushing for a Bolton place after his arrival on transfer deadline day.

Anthony Barness is set to keep his place at the back because Nicky Hunt is out but Jay-Jay Okocha is doubtful.

Crystal Palace (from): Kiraly, Boyce, Hall, Borrowdale, Granville, Powell, Routledge, Leigertwood, Hughes, Soares, Freedman, Johnson, Speroni, Riihilahti, Lakis, Andrews, Popovic.

Bolton (from): Jaaskelainen, Barness, N'Gotty, Ben Haim, Jaidi, Gardner, Candela, Campo, Okocha, Speed, Nolan, Giannakopoulos, Pedersen, Diouf, Davies, Fadiga, Poole, Hierro.

Newcastle v Charlton

St James' Park
Saturday, 5 February
Kick-off: 1500 GMT


Newcastle defender Jean-Alain Boumsong is in the squad although he is still recovering from a hamstring injury.

Midfielder Nicky Butt is also included after appearing as a substitute in the 1-1 draw at Manchester City in midweek.

Charlton boss Alan Curbishley has no fresh injury worries and Mark Fish is likely to be added to the squad.

Curbishley must decide whether to stick with a lone-striker role for Shaun Bartlett and a five-man midfield, or also give Francis Jeffers a start.

Newcastle (from): Given, Harper, Carr, Babayaro, Taylor, Hughes, Boumsong, Bramble, O'Brien, Dyer, Jenas, Butt, Faye, Bowyer, Robert, N'Zogbia, Milner, Ambrose, Shearer, Ameobi, Kluivert.

Charlton (from): Kiely, Hreidarsson, Young, Fortune, El Karkouri, Hughes, Holland, Murphy, Thomas, Konchesky, Bartlett, Jeffers, Kishishev, Rommedahl, Euell, Andersen, Fish, Johansson.

Southampton v Everton

St Mary's Stadium
Sunday, 6 February
Kick-off: 1400 GMT


Midfielder Nigel Quashie hopes to make his Southampton debut after his £2.1m move from Portsmouth, having recovered from a knee injury.

Graeme Le Saux is back after six weeks out and Henri Camara and Olivier Bernard make their home debuts.

Everton striker James Beattie will face his old team but new loan signing Mikel Arteta may miss out through injury.

Steve Watson has a stomach muscle problem and Leon Osman is also likely to miss the game with a knee injury.

Southampton: (from) Niemi, Telfer, Lundekvam, Davenport, Bernard, Prutton, Redknapp, Quashie, Le Saux, Crouch, Camara, Delap, Higginbotham, Oakley, Jones, van Damme, Nilsson, A.Svensson, Dodd, Kenton, Smith.

Everton (from): Martyn, Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Weir, Pistone, Naysmith, McFadden, Carsley, Cahill, Kilbane, Bent, Beattie, Chadwick, Wright, Ferguson, Arteta

Liverpool v Fulham

Saturday, 5 February
Kick-off: 1500 GMT


Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann returns after a one-match ban so Igor Biscan is likely to drop to the bench.

Vladimir Smicer, who has been out for six months with a knee injury, will be on the bench again, and Harry Kewell could join him there.

Fulham have no new injury or selection worries ahead of the trip to Anfield.

Andy Cole is likely to be the lone striker ahead of a five-man midfield, with one of Tomasz Radzinski, Collins John and Brian McBride on the bench.


Liverpool (from): Dudek, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Pellegrino, Traore, Luis Garcia, Potter, Gerrard, Hamman, Biscan, Riise, Warnock, Morientes, Smicer, Baros, Nunez, Kewell, Carson.

Fulham (from): Van der Sar, Volz, Knight, Bouba Diop, Goma, Bocanegra, Rosenior, Legwinski, Jensen, Pembridge, Clark, Rehman, Radzinski, Cole, Boa Morte, McBride, John, Crossley

Chelsea v Man City

Stamford Bridge
Sunday, 6 February
Kick-off: 1605 GMT


Chelsea will be without winger Arjen Robben (foot), so his place could go to Joe Cole, who replace him at Blackburn.

Didier Drogba (groin) is doubtful, and Robert Huth is out for up to eight weeks with a knee ligament problem.

Manchester City include Antoine Sibierski, who has recovered from flu which ruled him out against Newcastle.

But he may have to be content with a place on the bench as Kevin Keegan's side look to complete a rare double over the Premiership leaders.


Chelsea (from): Cech, Cudicini, Johnson, Ferreira, Gallas, Terry, Lampard, Smertin, Jarosik, Cole, Geremi, Tiago, Kezman, Gudjohnsen, Drogba, Duff, Makelele, Bridge.

Man City (from): James, Weaver, Mills, Onuoha, Dunne, Distin, Thatcher, Jordan, S Wright-Phillips, Flood, Bosvelt, Barton, McManaman, Musampa, Sibierski, Fowler, Macken, B Wright-Phillips.

Middlesbrough v Blackburn

The Riverside
Saturday, 5 February
Kick-off: 1500 GMT


Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (flu), Colin Cooper (dead leg and knee) and Tony McMahon (ankle and knee) are all major doubts for Middlesbrough.

Bolo Zenden is suspended but Szilard Nemeth (hip) and James Morrison (shin) have shaken off knocks.

Blackburn are likely to stick with the side which performed so well in the 1-0 defeat by Chelsea in midweek.

Garry Flitcroft is fit again after injury but boss Mark Hughes should keep faith with Aaron Mokoena in midfield.

Middlesbrough (from): Schwarzer, Nash, McMahon, Parnaby, Queudrue, Taylor, Reiziger, Southgate, Cooper, Bates, Wheater, Parlour, Doriva, Downing, Morrison, Nemeth, Hasselbaink, Christie, Job, Graham.

Blackburn (from): Friedel, Enckelman, Todd, Johansson, Emerton, Thompson, Stead, Neill, Matteo, Savage, Pedersen, Gallagher, Tugay, Dickov, Nelsen, Amoruso, Mokoena, Douglas, McEveley, Bothroyd, Flitcroft, Johnson

Norwich v West Brom

Carrow Road
Saturday, 5 February
Kick-off: 1500 GMT


Norwich will check on defender Adam Drury's hamstring strain.

Graham Stuart, who replaced Drury at Everton in midweek, could make his home debut while Youssef Safri could come into contention after a lay-off.

West Brom have new midfielder Richard Chaplow available to make his debut after a £1.5m transfer from Burnley.

On-loan Manchester United midfielder Kieran Richardson is fit after a knee injury, but Jason Koumas is a slight doubt with an ankle strain.

Norwich (from): Green, Edworthy, Fleming, Doherty, Drury, Jonson, Holt, Francis, Stuart, Huckerby, Ashton, McKenzie, McVeigh, Mulryne, Safri, Brennan, Charlton, Shackell, Crow, Gallacher, Safri.

West Brom (from): Hoult, Albrechtsen, Purse, Clement, Robinson, Gera, Scimeca, Wallwork, Chaplow, Richardson, Greening, Campbell, Earnshaw, Kanu, Horsfield, Koumas, Gaardsoe, Moore, Kuszczak.

Tottenham v Portsmouth

White Hart Lane
Saturday, 5 February
Kick-off: 1500 GMT


Tottenham's new signing Andy Reid is in the squad but Fredi Kanoute (ban) and Anthony Gardner (broken nose) are out.

Paul Robinson is also doubtful after having X-rays on a knee injury suffered in the midweek defeat at Bolton.

Portsmouth pair Diomansy Kamara and Andy Griffin are set to return from suspension and injury.

Steve Stone (hamstring) has an outside chance of selection, while Greek midfielder Giannis Skopelitis could make his full debut.

Tottenham (from): Robinson, Pamarot, King, Naybet, Edman, Marney, Brown, Carrick, Defoe, Keane, Davies, Atouba, Yeates, Reid, Kelly, Fulop.

Portsmouth (from): Chalkias; Griffin, Primus, Stefanovic, de Zeeuw, Taylor, Berger, O'Neil, Skopelitis, Hughes, Kamara, Yakubu, Fuller, Mezague, Cisse, Rodic, Stone, Ashdown.

Brighton v Derby
Brighton are without captain Charlie Oatway who starts a three-match ban.
Alexis Nicolas is likely to benefit from Oatway's absence, while on-loan Blackburn goalkeeper David Yelldell should continue.

Derby winger Marco Reich faces a late test on a calf injury and Richard Jackson and Jamie Vincent are out.

Tom Huddlestone, who this week signed a pre-contract agreement to join Spurs in the summer, is expected to play despite an ankle niggle.

Burnley v Leeds
Burnley have a doubt over defender Michael Duff, who continues to be troubled by a calf injury.
Richard Chaplow completed a £1.5m move to West Brom on Monday but Jean-Louis Valois, John Oster and Danny Coyne all played for the reserves in midweek.

Leeds could hand a start to new loan signing Michael Gray, while Seth Johnson and Eirik Bakke will both be included in the squad.

Brian Deane is struggling with a shoulder injury but should recover.

West Ham v Cardiff
West Ham will be without defender Tomas Repka as he is suspended and Andy Melville has joined Forest on loan.
Christian Dailly (knee) and Steve Lomas (calf) are on their way back to fitness but Matt Etherington (groin) and Gavin Williams (ankle) are still injured.

Peter Thorne, who missed Cardiff's last match two weeks ago with a dead leg, is fit to partner Alan Lee up front.

Full-back Gary Croft, midfielders Willie Boland and Paul Parry plus young striker Cameron Jerome are sidelined

Preston v Coventry
Preston boss Billy Davies could hand a final appearance to on-loan Rob Kozluk against Coventry, with the defender set to return to Sheffield United.
Only midfielder Eric Skora, who is out for the rest of the season following knee surgery, is on the sidelines.

Coventry striker Andy Morrell will be out for four weeks after injuring ankle ligaments in the FA Cup.

Left-back Stuart Giddings faces a late fitness test while right-back Louis Carey has rejoined Bristol City.

Leicester v Crewe
Leicester are set to hand a debut to new signing Stephen Hughes, but Jason Wilcox and Lee Morris again miss out.
Nathan Blake (hamstring) and Tommy Wright (groin) are sidelined, while Matt Elliott has now retired.

Crewe have a defensive headache with Rich Walker (hamstring) and Billy Jones (thigh) definitely absent, while Adie Moses (hamstring) is also struggling.

However they will hand a debut to Colin Murdoch and striker Mark Rivers should overcome a foot problem

Watford v Gillingham
On-loan midfielder Johnnie Jackson is set to start for Watford with Brynjar Gunnarsson out with a knee injury.
Keeper Richard Lee played 45 minutes for the reserves in midweek after a fractured cheekbone but defender Sean Dyche (groin) is still struggling.

Midfielder Mike Flynn is in line to make his Gillingham debut at Watford.

Promising youngster Matt Jarvis could also return after a hernia operation, but striker Mamady Sidibe (Achilles) is unlikely to be available this month

Sheff Utd v Ipswich
Sheffield United midfielder Alan Quinn returns to the squad after suspension.
Paul Thirlwell, Ashley Ward, Danny Cadamarteri and Simon Francis all played for the reserves in midweek and will be hoping for first-team starts.

Ipswich will hand a debut to defender David Unsworth, who could come in at left-back for Daniel Karbassiyoon.

Defender Drissa Diallo, who has been suffering with a hamstring injury since before Christmas, is making progress but will not be risked.

Millwall v QPR
Millwall are hoping goalkeeper Andy Marshall will recover in time to play after a bout of viral meningitis and Graham Stack is out for six weeks.
Paul Ifill (ankle) may miss the rest of the season while Peter Sweeney (knee) is also likely to be out.

QPR are hoping Dan Shittu, Gino Padula, Richard Edghill, Kevin McLeod and Paul Furlong will all be fit to play after contracting a bug this week.

Midfielder Marc Bircham and defender Matthew Rose have been declared fit.

Rotherham v Nottm Forest
Rotherham caretaker-boss Alan Knill should recall defender Chris Swailes from illness and utility man Shaun Barker from a knee injury.
But Martin McIntosh (hamstring) and Rob Scott are both still missing.

Nottingham Forest may hand a debut to new signing John Curtis, who will slot into Gary Megson's five-man defence.

Matthieu-Louis Jean is injured and Forest must do without Andy Reid and Michael Dawson, who both joined Spurs on transfer deadline day.

Reading v Plymouth
Reading could hand a debut to veteran defender Martin Keown, Steve Sidwell returns from suspension but Ricky Newman must serve a one-match ban.
Striker Les Ferdinand should recover from a thigh knock but Dave Kitson is still three weeks away from returning.

Plymouth will hand a debut to on-loan Southampton striker Dexter Blackstock, David Friio has recovered from illness but Paul Connolly is banned.

Lee Hodges (back) and David Norris (knee) are both doubts

Wigan v Stoke
Wigan may hand a first start to Andreas Johansson, who is vying for a place with Alan Mahon and Jason Jarrett.
Boss Paul Jewell has a fully-fit squad to choose from, with the exception of long-term absentee Per Frandsen.

Stoke will be without the suspended Kevin Harper, while Ade Akinbiyi and new signing Kevin Harper are both nursing thigh strains.

And John Halls, Wayne Thomas, Dave Brammer and Chris Greenacre could also miss out.

Wolves v Sunderland
Sunderland centre-backs Gary Breen and Steve Caldwell will return to the starting line-up after recovering from knee and calf injuries respectively.
Jeff Whitley is also likely to return in midfield but Matt Piper picked up a knock in training and is struggling.

Wolves welcome back Mark Clyde after suspension and he is expected to replace Joachim Bjorklund (hamstring).

Mark Kennedy (calf) is doubtful but Dean Sturridge (hamstring) and Rob Edwards (ankle) could return
Barnsley v Sheffield Wednesday
Barnsley defender Tony Vaughan faces a late fitness test after struggling with a hip injury and boss Paul Hart is also without the suspended Bobby Hassell.
Long-term absentees Barry Conlon (hernia) and Daniel Nardiello (ankle) are still sidelined.

Wednesday's latest signing Craig Rocastle could thrown straight into the South Yorkshire derby.

Defender Danny Heckingbottom could also make the starting XI after returning from a one-game ban.

Colchester v Blackpool
Defender Stephen Hunt (dead leg), midfielder Kevin Watson (calf) and striker Gareth Williams (ankle) all face late fitness tests for Colchester.
Striker Richard Garcia (hip and groin) remains sidelined, while Kem Izzet (ankle), Karl Duguid (knee) and Bobby Bowry (hip) are also still out.

Blackpool are without suspended defender Danny Coid.

Forward John Murphy, defender Peter Clarke and midfielder are also injury doubts after sustaining knocks

Port Vale v Bournemouth
Port Vale will be deprived of Michael Cummins (knee), Simon Eldershaw (ankle), Lee Matthews and Levi Reid (both calf).
Ian Armstrong may again miss out after suffering an illness following his recovery from double hernia surgery.

Bournemouth are still without striker Dani Rodrigues, who has a knee injury and remains on the sidelines with defender Neil Young (hernia).

But long-term absentee Jason Tindall is the only other player unavailable.

Bradford v Tranmere
Bradford winger Ben Muirhead returns from suspension and is expected to take his place on the bench.
But defender Darren Holloway (calf) and midfielder Tom Kearney (hernia) remain on the sidelines.

Iain Hume (thigh) and Ian Goodison (concussion) are available for Tranmere's trip to Bradford.

But a scan on striker Simon Haworth has revealed his fibula has not completely healed and skipper Jason McAteer misses out with a hamstring problem.

Brentford v Milton Keynes Dons
Brentford midfielder Chris Hargreaves (calf) and defender Andy Myers (ankle) are both rated 50-50.
Isaiah Rankin serves a one-match ban while Kevin O'Connor (foot) and Jamie Lawrence (knee) are out.

Milton Keynes could be without defender Gareth Edds (ankle), while skipper Mark Williams is out with a groin injury.

But defender Nathan Koo-Boothe and forward Alan Smart are both pushing to be recalled after impressive performances in the reserves.

Hull v Bristol City
Hull City are still without suspended captain Ian Ashbee so Andy Hessenthaler is likely to deputise.
Alton Thelwell (knee) is out until March, Stuart Elliott is recovering from a fractured cheekbone and Marc Joseph remains on the sidelines.

Midfielder Scott Brown will make his first start for Bristol City, while Craig Ireland and Louis Carey will start in central defence.

Tom Doherty has been left out of the squad, along with Tony Butler.

Chesterfield v Hartlepool
Mark Innes comes into Chesterfield's midfield for the suspended Derek Niven, while Wayne Allison and Ian Evatt look to have recovered from minor injuries.
Steve Blatherwick (Achilles) remains on the sidelines, and Adam Smith is awaiting a scan on his knee injury.

Hartlepool club captain Micky Barron is pushing for a place in the starting XI after returning from a hernia problem sustained in December.

But midfielder Darrell Clarke continues his recovery from a knee problem.

Torquay v Doncaster
Torquay will hand a debut to on-loan Sheffield United goalkeeper Phil Barnes following Olafur Gottskalksson's exit two weeks ago.
They will also be hoping fortnight break has enabled left-back Brian McGlinchey (hamstring) to recover.

Doncaster's loan signing Andy Campbell may make first full start.

But young goalkeeper Stuart Jones remains sidelined with torn ankle ligaments, while Leo Fortune-West is still out with a knee problem.

Huddersfield v Luton
Nathan Clarke (groin) will return to Huddersfield's starting line-up but midfield pair Andy Holdsworth and Tony Carss (hernia) are still sidelined.
Latest loan signing Luke Beckett will again form a three-pronged attack with Andy Booth and Pawel Abbott.

Luton defender Chris Coyne will miss the trip to Huddersfield as he serves a one-match suspension after collecting his fifth booking of the season.

Defender Paul Underwood (hamstring) is also likely to miss out again.

Oldham v Swindon
Oldham defender Will Haining will miss tie due to hamstring injury and will now be sidelined for up to three weeks.
Danny Hall is also ruled out with a hamstring problem and Scott Vernon (thigh) has not recovered after missing the Bolton clash.

Swindon manager Andy King is likely to name an unchanged squad.

Striker Christian Roberts remains on the sidelines following a hernia operation, while defender Andy Nicholas (ankle) is unlikely to feature.

Peterborough v Stockport
Peterborough boss Barry Fry is sweating over the fitness of winger David Farrell who has picked up a bug.
Adam Newton is expected to be fit and Wayne Purser returns after being cup-tied but fellow striker Matthew Nolan (ankle) is unlikely to feature.

Stockport will miss top-scorer Warren Feeney (hamstring), alongside Keith Briggs (hamstring), John Hardiker and Danny Griffin (both knees).

Long-term absentee Lee Cartwright is still out with a hamstring problem.

Walsall v Wrexham
Mark Kinsella's ankle injury rules him out of Wrexham's visit to the Bescot, but defender Ian Roper is available for the first time since December.
Michael Standing and Matty Fryatt are out, and goalkeeper Richard McKinney is recovering from a broken knee cap.

Wrexham striker Juan Ugarte returns after a one match ban and will replace Chris Armstrong (thigh strain).

Midfielder Danny Williams misses out with suspension but Jim Whitley should recover from a slight illness to cover (BBC, Channel 4, Reuters, Le Gazzetta)


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