Premier League – Team news: Owen to return
Brief team news from this weekend’s Premier League games, with Newcastle captain Michael Owen set for his latest return from injury.
Kick-offs 15:00 unless stated
Alex Ferguson may decide to rest veterans Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, who played in Wednesday’s game against Internazionale. Park Ji-Sung and Darren Fletcher are the likeliest candidates to replace them. Long-term absentees Gary Neville, Wes Brown and Owen Hargreaves are still no nearer selection, while Rafael da Silva is also unavailable through injury.
After the devastating 4-0 win against Real Madrid, Rafa Benitez may go easy on his trademark squad rotation. He welcomes back Albert Riera for Liverpool after his midweek suspension, but Yossi Benayoun remains confined to the treatment room with a hamstring problem.
Arsenal striker Eduardo will be absent, with the Brazilian Croat nursing a groin strain following the Gunners’ Champions League extra-time win against Roma. Andrei Arshavin is likely to start, with Theo Walcott pushing for a place in midfield along with Alexandre Song.
David Moyes’s opposite number Tony Pulis has no injury or suspension worries as the Potters boss debates whether to partner Ricardo Fuller with James Beattie in attack.
Michael Owen (pictured) is set to return for Newcastle as Chris Hughton’s side, having finally recovered from the ankle injury sustained against Manchester City on January 28. Nicky Butt and Damien Duff are both back in contention. Kevin Nolan is suspended.
Hull boss Phil Brown has Andy Dawson available for selection following a ban, but Dean Marney remains suspended for the Tigers.
Pompey manager Paul Hart looks set to keep faith with his side too, with Richard Hughes and Marc Wilson challenging for places after shaking off injuries.
Bolton Wanderers v Fulham
Bolton manager Gary Megson has a near-clean bill of health, with just Joey O’Brien unable to challenge for a starting spot due to a knee injury.
The Black Cats have serious doubts over the fitness of Anton Ferdinand, with Nyron Nosworthy also sidelined, while for the Latics, Antoine Sibierski will be kept out of the game with a hamstring problem.
Chelsea v Manchester City (13:30)
The game comes too early for Ricardo Carvalho, who is close to making his full return for Chelsea, while Michael Essien may be rested in favour of Salomon Kalou following the Ghanaian’s midweek exploits.
Manchester City duo Nigel de Jong and Vincent Kompany are unavailable after sustaining knee and toe injuries respectively, but Shaun Wright-Phillips and Wayne Bridge are fit to face their former club.
Aston Villa v Tottenham (16:00)
Tottenham captain Ledley King is set to lead his side out once more as he defies his ongoing knee problem, but the trip to Villa Park comes too early for Alan Hutton, who is still recovering from a foot injury.
West Ham v West Bromwich Albion (20:00)
West Ham are without Valon Behrami, who is out for up to six months with a cruciate knee ligament injury, and Carlton Cole who is suspended; Savio Nsereko may therefore get his chance to partner David Di Michele up front. Jack Collison is also out with a knee injury.
West Brom’s on-loan striker Jay Simpson is being evaluated by boss Tony Mowbray ahead of the clash at Upton Park, with Marc-Antoine Fortune and Luke Moore also challenging for a place in attack.