Premier League – Team news: Adebayor concern


EurosportFri, 22 Feb 13:02:00 2008

Premier League leaders Arsenal will check on the fitness of leading scorer Emmanuel Adebayor, who has a stiff neck, and winger Alexander Hleb (foot) ahead of their trip to relegation battlers Birmingham (15:00 GMT, Saturday).

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Centre-back Kolo Toure (calf) is definitely out, so Philippe Senderos should continue at centre-half, while Theo Walcott could start in the absence of the suspended Emmanuel Eboue.

Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia expects to be back in action after a virus but Robin van Persie (thigh), Tomas Rosicky (hamstring), Abou Diaby (calf) and Johan Djourou (groin) are out.

Birmingham have joint-top scorer Olivier Kapo back to face the leaders after the Frenchan missed the draw at West Ham a fortnight ago through suspension.

Fulham v West Ham (15:00 GMT, Saturday)

West Ham’s Craig Bellamy has been ruled out for six weeks with an abdominal injury, and joins long-term injury victims James Collins, Scott Parker, Nigel Quashie and Nolberto Solano on the sidelines.

Roy Hodgson has an almost fully fit Fulham squad to select from, with only long-term injury victims Hameur Bouazza (shoulder) and Simon Elliott (Achilles) missing.

Liverpool v Middlesbrough (15:00 GMT, Saturday)

Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate will make late checks on Robert Huth (foot) and Tuncay Sanli (hamstring), while Lee Cattermole (knee) and Chris Riggott (hamstring) remain on the sidelines.

Liverpool are expected to be without Andriy Voronin, but Danish centre-half Daniel Agger has been tipped to make a surprise return after five months out with a fractured metatarsal.

With Jamie Carragher suspended and recent signing Martin Skrtel struggling with a calf problem, full-back Alvaro Arbeloa may be redeployed at centre-half if Agger is not deemed ready to start.

Newcastle v Man United (17:15 GMT, Saturday)

Steve Harper is expected to continue in goal for Newcastle after Shay Given was forced off during the 4-1 defeat at Aston Villa with a groin injury, while Obafemi Martins (ankle) and Peter Ramage (knee) are both out.

The visitors have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the trip to St James’ Park, and boss Sir Alex Ferguson will restore Carlos Tevez to the starting line-up after he came off the bench to snatch a late equaliser in the 1-1 Champions League draw at Lyon in mid-week.

Portsmouth v Sunderland (15:00 GMT, Saturday)

Jermain Defoe will return to league action against Sunderland at Fratton Park on Saturday after being cup-tied for the win over Preston.

Goalkeeper David James is expected to shrug off a stomach virus and maintain his ever-present league record but midfielder Pedro Mendes is still sidelined after a minor operation on a foot, defender Noe Pamarot is recovering from damaged knee ligaments and David Nugent is still having treatment following a hernia operation.

Grant Leadbitter is in contention for the visitors after recovering from a broken toe and Dwight Yorke has shaken off a calf problem, but Liam Miller (calf), Kieran Richardson (hamstring), Danny Higginbotham (broken toe), Carlos Edwards (broken leg) and Ross Wallace (knee) remain sidelined.

Wigan v Derby (15:00 GMT, Saturday)

Wigan expect England striker Emile Heskey to be fit to lead their attack despite recent back trouble and new signing Erik Edman could come into contention after recovering from a calf injury, but Ryan Taylor has been ruled out with a rib injury.

Jay McEveley could return for Derby after a seven-week lay-off with a knee injury and captain Robbie Savage plays after recovering from a bruised foot, but Claude Davis and Tyrone Mears are still out and Darren Moore is a doubt with a hamstring problem.

Reading v Aston Villa (12:30 GMT, Sunday)

Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is winning his battle to be fit for the clash with Reading after missing Villa’s 4-1 win over Newcastle with a hamstring injury, while Martin O’Neill must decide whether to persevere with Olof Mellberg and Stiliyan Petrov who were both substituted at half-time against Kevin Keegan’s side.

Reading are boosted by the returns of key defender Ivar Ingimarsson from suspension, Andre Bikey and Emerse Fae from the African Cup of Nations and Michael Duberry from a knee injury, as they look for their first win since the 2-1 triumph over Sunderland on 22 December.

Blackburn v Bolton (15:00 GMT, Sunday)

Gretar Steinsson and Tamir Cohen were cup-tied for Bolton’s shock UEFA Cup win over Atletico Madrid but are now available, while Ricardo Gardner and Heidar Helguson are fighting to be fit after missing out on Thursday.

Blackburn are missing centre-halves Andre Ooijer and Ryan Nelsen, who both have hamstring injuries.

Man City v Everton (20:00 GMT, Monday)

Everton have an almost clean bill of health after their 6-1 humbling of SK Brann in the UEFA Cup on Thursday night, with only loan signing Anthony Gardner (knee) missing.

Man City are without recent loan signing Nery Alberto Castillo, who remains out with a broken shoulder, but midfielder Michael Johnson – who turns 20 the day before the game – is close to a return from an abdominal strain.

Sven-Goran Eriksson has something of a selection headache to contend with as Croatian defender Vedran Corluka and Brazilian playmaker Elano both return from suspension.