FA Premiership Team news
English FA Premiership: Team news and previews of all today's games:
Arsenal (7) v Portsmouth (18)
Arsenal will bring Dennis Bergkamp back into the squad after he was rested for the 1-0 win at Charlton and, with Robin van Persie (knee) still unavailable, he returns to contention. Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy (foot) remain sidelined as they recover match fitness.
Portsmouth defender Linvoy Primus is out with a groin injury while winger Laurent Robert is suspended following his sending-off in the 1-1 draw with West Ham. Dejan Stefanovic is also struggling after taking a knock to a knee. Vincent Pericard (thigh) and Salif Diao (hamstring) are likely to remain unavailable.
Last season: Arsenal 3 Portsmouth 0, Portsmouth 0 Arsenal 1. Last five league matches: Arsenal W L L L W; Portsmouth L L L W D. Top scorers: Thierry Henry (Arsenal) 11; James Keene (Portsmouth) 4. Match odds: H 2-9 A 17-2 D 4-1. Referee: M Clattenburg.
Birmingham (19) v Man Utd (2)
Muzzy Izzet is suspended after he was sent off at Tottenham. Blues boss Steve Bruce made five changes for the defeat at White Hart Lane and the loss of Izzett will force him to reshuffle with Nicky Butt, Stephen Clemence and David Dunn all pushing for a recall. Mikael Forssell and full back Mario Melchiot could be available after thigh injuries.
Cristiano Ronaldo could return after suspension as Alex Ferguson attempts to freshen up his Manchester United squad. The Portuguese winger may replace Ryan Giggs as Ferguson spreads the workload. Mikael Silvestre (thigh) is unlikely to be involved but the United boss is confident Wes Brown (groin) and Paul Scholes (virus) will shrug off their minor problems.
Last season: Man Utd 2 Birmingham 0, Birmingham 0 Man Utd 0. Last five league matches: Birmingham W L W L L; Man Utd W D W W W. Top scorers: Jiri Jarosik (Birmingham) 5; Ruud van Nistelrooy (Man Utd) 16. Match odds: H 11-2 A 4-9 D 13-5. Referee: H Webb.
Blackburn (11) v Sunderland (20)
Andy Todd is expected to miss the match after picking up a knee injury. Mark Hughes is able to welcome Lucas Neill and Paul Dickov back from injury, as well as Morten Gamst Pedersen but Tugay is banned.
Sunderland full back Nyron Nosworthy returns to the squad after a one-match ban. Right back Stephen Wright's calf problem is likely to sideline him once again, while Stephen Elliott is still recovering from his back injury.
Last season: No corresponding fixture. Last five league matches: Blackburn L L W L W; Sunderland L L L L D. Top scorers: Shefki Kuqi, Craig Bellamy & Paul Dickov (Blackburn) 6; Anthony Le Tallec & Dean Whitehead (Sunderland) 3. Match odds: H 8-15 A 9-2 D 5-2. Referee: P Dowd.
Bolton (5) v Middlesbrough (13)
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce is likely to turn to Kevin Nolan, Kevin Davies, Abdoulaye Faye and Joey O'Brien, who were rested for the 0-0 draw at Sunderland. Striker Henrik Pedersen is not expected to play again until the new year because of an Achilles problem.
Middlesbrough welcome back James Morrison, who has not featured since suffering concussion against Tottenham on December 18th. George Boateng (ankle), Stewart Downing and Ray Parlour (knee), Tony McMahon (shoulder) and Malcolm Christie (leg) are out but Szilard Nemeth could return from a hamstring injury.
Last season: Bolton 0 Middlesbrough 0, Middlesbrough 1 Bolton 1. Last five league matches: Bolton L W D W D; Middlesbrough D L L D L. Top scorers: Kevin Nolan (Bolton) 7; Aiyegbeni Yakubu (Middlesbrough) 11. Match odds: H 5-6 A 11-4 D 11-5. Referee: C Foy.
Everton (16) v Liverpool (3)
Everton have doubts over centre backs Joseph Yobo and Per Kroldrup, who picked up shoulder and ankle injuries, respectively, at Aston Villa. Defender David Weir will return to the squad after he was rested for the Villa Park clash.
Midfielder Mohamed Sissoko returns to the Liverpool squad after completing a one-match suspension. The Anfield club also expect to have Dietmar Hamann back after his struggle to overcome the knee problems caused by Michael Essien's tackle in the Champions League game at Chelsea on December 7th. The German star has not played since.
Last season: Liverpool 2 Everton 1, Everton 1 Liverpool 0. Last five league matches: Everton W D L L L; Liverpool W W W W W. Top scorers: James Beattie (Everton) 4; Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) 13. Match odds: H 7-2 A 8-11 D 21-10. Referee: G Poll.
Fulham (15) v Aston Villa (14)
Fulham midfielder Papa Bouba Diop remains unavailable after failing to recover from his ankle injury. Goalkeeper Mark Crossley suffered a recurrence of his hamstring problem in the 3-2 defeat by Chelsea so may be replaced by Tony Warner. Claus Jensen, Moritz Volz and Steed Malbranque remain in the treatment room but Collins John could start.
James Milner is Aston Villa's most significant new fitness doubt after he limped out of the emphatic 4-0 victory over Everton with a hamstring injury. Eirik Bakke could come in as Lee Hendrie (Achilles) is out. Luke Moore (leg) could miss out as manager David O'Leary could pair Milan Baros and Juan Pablo Angel.
Last season: Fulham 1 Aston Villa 1, Aston Villa 2 Fulham 0. Last five league matches: Fulham W D L W L; Aston Villa W D D L W. Top scorers: Brian McBride (Fulham) 7; Steven Davis, James Milner & Milan Baros (Aston Villa) 5. Match odds: H 1-1 A 23-10 D 21-10. Referee: R Beeby.
Man City (8) v Chelsea (1)
Richard Dunne could return to the Manchester City line-up after being named on the bench for the defeat at Wigan. The same could also go for striker Andy Cole who scored a late goal after coming on as a substitute.
Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien will miss out because of a heel injury. Defender Ricardo Carvalho (Achilles) has also been ruled out of the match but Damien Duff (Achilles) could be back after sitting out the 3-2 victory over Fulham while Asier del Horno (leg) may also figure.
Last season: Chelsea 0 Man City 0, Man City 1 Chelsea 0. Last five league matches: Man City L W L W L; Chelsea W W W W W. Top scorers: Andy Cole (Man City) 8; Frank Lampard (Chelsea) 13. Match odds: H 9-2 A 8-15 D 5-2. Referee: U Rennie.
Newcastle (10) v Charlton (12)
Newcastle will be without defender Steven Taylor and suspended midfielder Lee Bowyer. But they will have Scott Parker back from his ban. Taylor will have a shoulder operation after a recurrence of an injury in the defeat at Liverpool, while Bowyer will start a three-match ban for his red card in the same match.
Charlton must do without suspended midfielder Danny Murphy after his sending-off in the 1-0 defeat to Arsenal at The Valley on St Stephen's Day. Defender Gonzalo Sorondo is a major doubt after badly bruising his foot in Monday's game, while Alexei Smertin (knee) and Jerome Thomas (virus) will also face fitness tests.
Last season: Newcastle 1 Charlton 1, Charlton 1 Newcastle 1. Last five league matches: Newcastle L D W W L; Charlton L L W L L. Top scorers: Michael Owen & Alan Shearer (Newcastle) 7; Darren Bent (Charlton) 11. Match odds: H 6-10 A 19-5 D 12-5. Referee: M Dean.
West Brom (17) v Tottenham (4)
Paul Robinson is a major doubt for West Brom after he was stretchered off with concussion against Manchester United. Neil Clement (ankle) and Junichi Inamoto (thigh) are both rated 50-50 after missing the Old Trafford defeat. Zoltan Gera could be available following his hernia operation.
Tottenham boss Martin Jol hopes the groin injury Ledley King sustained on St Stephen's Day is not serious enough to keep him out.
Last season: Tottenham 1 West Brom 1, West Brom 1 Tottenham 1. Last five league matches: West Brom D D W L L; Tottenham W W W D W. Top scorers: Nathan Ellington (West Brom) 6; Ahmed Mido (Tottenham) 7. Match odds: H 21-10 A 11-10 D 21-10. Referee: M Riley.
West Ham (9) v Wigan (6)
West Ham manager Alan Pardew has Hayden Mullins, Tomas Repka and Danny Gabbidon all injured following the 1-1 draw at Portsmouth. Matthew Etherington and Paul Konchesky are expected to be available despite taking knocks at Fratton Park but Yossi Benayoun (groin) and Teddy Sheringham (calf) are still out.
Wigan manager Paul Jewell has no fresh injury worries. That just leaves defender Emerson Thome on the sidelines, the Brazilian is recovering from a fractured cheekbone.
Last season: No corresponding fixture. Last five league matches: West Ham W L W L D; Wigan L L L W W. Top scorers: Marlon Harewood (West Ham) 8; Jason Roberts (Wigan) 8. Match odds: H 21-20 A 21-10 D 11-5. Referee: S Bennett.