Team news: Carew could return
All the team news ahead of Saturday's Championship fixtures, with John Carew in line for a return to the West Ham team.
Leeds United v Millwall
Leeds manager Simon Grayson must decide whether to recall leading goalscorer Ross McCormack to his starting line-up. Grayson opted to drop McCormack and go with a lone striker in the form of Luciano Becchio for the thumping midweek win at Nottingham Forest. Veteran midfielder Michael Brown also made his first start in almost three months, while Grayson opted to switch Danny Pugh to left-back and utilise Aidy White's pace on the left wing.
Millwall can welcome captain Paul Robinson and top scorer Darius Henderson back into their starting line-up. Robinson should come back in at centre-half after sitting out the 3-2 win over Doncaster on Tuesday night through suspension, and nine-goal striker Henderson returned as a substitute to score the third after recovering from a foot injury. Darren Ward is likely to step aside for Robinson and Henderson is set to replace youngster John Marquis in attack. Steve Mildenhall continues in goal with David Forde still missing with a thigh problem which could keep him out until Christmas. Defender Jordan Stewart has a groin injury and midfielder Tamika Mkandawire is a long-term casualty after a knee operation.
Blackpool v Reading
Callum McManaman and Kevin Phillips are vying for a place in the Blackpool attack. The Seasiders' preparations for the Championship clash were dealt a blow when Liverpool recalled Jonjo Shelvey from his loan spell on Wednesday. On-loan Wigan youngster McManaman starred alongside Shelvey and Lomana LuaLua when Ian Holloway's men romped to a 5-0 win at Elland Road last month, while veteran striker Phillips remains Blackpool's joint top scorer - alongside Shelvey - despite being restricted to bench duty in recent weeks. Chris Basham could come into the Tangerines' defence after replacing Alex Baptiste (hamstring) in the first half of Tuesday night's defeat at Leicester.
Reading will be without captain Jobi McAnuff. Winger McAnuff picked up his fifth booking of the season in the 3-2 victory over Peterborough in the Championship on Tuesday and serves a one-match ban. Kaspars Gorkss will skipper the team in his absence. Hal Robson-Kanu, who scored a sublime goal after coming on as a second-half substitute in the defeat of Posh, is likely to deputise for McAnuff wide on the left. Full-back Joseph Mills remains a doubt for Royals manager Brian McDermott with an ankle knock which has kept him out of Reading's last two matches. Veteran defender Ian Harte will continue to deputise for Mills should he fail to recover in time for the match at Bloomfield Road.
West Ham v Burnley
Sam Baldock is ruled out but John Carew could return. Baldock faces three weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring problem but fellow striker Carew should be available after resting a knee injury at Middlesbrough in midweek. Carew will probably be on the bench with one or both of Frederic Piquionne and Carlton Cole, the goalscorers in the 2-0 win on Tuesday night, starting up front. Guy Demel could keep his place at right-back after an encouraging debut at the Riverside and midfielder Jack Collison is pushing for a return to the starting line-up. Defender Winston Reid (shoulder), winger Gary O'Neil (ankle) and on-loan midfielders Henri Lansbury and David Bentley (both knee) are still out.
Marvin Bartley faces a late fitness test. The midfielder hobbled off shortly after half-time in the Clarets' emphatic 4-0 win over Ipswich on Tuesday night, suffering from a tight calf. Ross Wallace is available once more having served a one-match suspension for that game, but superb wing displays from Junior Stanislas and Keith Treacy mean the Scotland international might have to be content with a place on the bench. Charlie Austin (dislocated shoulder) and Martin Paterson (thigh) are back in training, but next weekend's game with Portsmouth has been set as the realistic target for the forward duo.
Ipswich Town v Watford
Ipswich could once again be without goalkeepers David Stockdale and Richard Wright. Arran Lee-Barrett became the third Town goalkeeper to start in as many games when they were thrashed 4-0 by Burnley on Tuesday, and he will play again should Stockdale and Wright miss out. The duo are both struggling with shoulder injuries. Stockdale, on loan from Fulham, is considered the most likely to return having missed the Tractor Boys' last two games. Ipswich's defence could be boosted by the return of centre-back Ibrahima Sonko.
Watford will once again wait on the fitness of top scorer Marvin Sordell. Should he miss out once more, Craig Beattie, on loan from Swansea, will start in attack after scoring his first goal for the club against the Robins. Defender Lloyd Doyley (thigh), centre-back Martin Taylor (dislocated collarbone) and midfielder Stephen McGinn (knee) all remain sidelined. Goalkeeper Scott Loach was at fault for Bristol City's equaliser but should retain his place although Jonathan Bond could make the bench after being recalled from his loan spell with Forest Green.
Peterborough United v Barnsley
Lee Frecklington will be fit to take his place in the Peterborough team. Frecklington missed the defeat to Reading on Tuesday night due to a slight groin injury but the midfielder is ready to return at the weekend. Fellow midfielder Tommy Rowe has been nursing a slight thigh problem since the 3-2 reverse at the Madejski Stadium but he is expected to be fit. Defenders Mark Little, fit again after a groin injury, and Josh Thompson and midfielders Ryan Tunnicliffe and Daniel Kearns are options should manager Darren Ferguson wish to make any changes to his starting line-up.
Barnsley will be without suspended midfielder David Perkins. Perkins, a virtual ever-present in the side since arriving on a free transfer from Colchester in the summer, was sent off for two yellow card offences in last week's win at Leeds and sits out a one-game ban. Danny Drinkwater, on loan from Manchester United, is expected to step up from the substitutes' bench in Perkins' absence. Striker Andy Gray will return to the squad after missing the last two games due to an Achilles tendon injury.
Brighton and Hove Albion v Nottingham Forest
Mauricio Taricco returns to the Brighton squad after a two-match ban. Albion's 38-year-old player/assistant manager could go straight back into the starting line-up as fellow full-backs Inigo Calderon and Marcos Painter are missing. Right-back Calderon serves a one-match suspension for collecting a fifth booking at Derby on Tuesday and left-back Painter has a hamstring injury. Midfielders Gonzalo Jara Reyes (knee) and Vicente Rodriguez (thigh) have returned to training this week and their fitness will be assessed ahead of kick-off. Adam El-Abd (foot) made his first appearance of the season as a substitute in the win at Pride Park and should be involved again, so Tommy Elphick (Achilles) and Gary Dicker (leg) are the only long-term absentees.
Nottingham Forest defender Joel Lynch looks likely to miss out. Lynch, who began his career at Albion before joining Forest on a permanent basis in the summer of 2009 following a successful loan spell, was struggling with a groin problem towards the end of the 4-0 home defeat to Leeds on Tuesday night. With midfielder Andy Reid suspended following his sending off against Leeds, either Radoslaw Majewski or Jonathan Greening will also come back into the team. David McGoldrick may get a chance as fellow striker Ishmael Miller is nursing a foot problem.
Portsmouth v Coventry City
Portsmouth will be without Liam Lawrence and Luke Varney. Skipper Lawrence's recovery from the ankle ligament damage he sustained a month ago has been slower than Pompey had hoped, although the midfielder could be back in action next week. Striker Varney missed last weekend's 1-1 draw against Leicester with a hamstring problem and will also not be ready to face the Sky Blues. Midfielder David Norris is therefore set to continue in an advanced role behind lone frontman Dave Kitson.
Cyrus Christie is a major doubt for Coventry. The teenage right-back came off in the first half against Brighton last Saturday with a calf strain and is considered unlikely to be fit in time. Richard Wood was his replacement against the Seagulls and will be hoping for a starting berth, however fellow teenager Jordan Clarke will also be hoping to push his way into manager Andy Thorn's thoughts. Midfielder David Bell (knock) and striker Roy O'Donovan (broken foot) missed the 2-1 defeat to Brighton but could come back into contention.
Doncaster Rovers v Southampton
Doncaster forward El-Hadji Diouf will miss the visit of Championship leaders Southampton after a hamstring injury ruled him out for a month. Defensive duo Pascal Chimbonda (hip) and Shelton Martis (groin) will be keeping Diouf company on the sidelines for a similar length of time. Rovers skipper George Friend and James Coppinger are set to give boss Dean Saunders respective options in defence and attack after stepping up their involvement in training following foot injuries. Adam Lockwood serves the final game of a three-match ban for the bottom-versus-top clash, while Richard Naylor is expected to miss out once more with a broken finger. Martin Woods (groin), Chris Brown and James Chambers (both knee) remain long-term absentees.
Richard Chaplow will be missing for leaders Southampton. Midfielder Chaplow has not recovered from the knee injury which forced him to miss Tuesday night's 2-1 win over Hull, so Morgan Schneiderlin looks set to keep his place. David Connolly is expected to miss out again with a groin problem but fellow striker Lee Barnard is pushing for his first start of the season, having made four substitute appearances since recovering from an ankle injury. Danny Fox was rested in midweek and could come back in for Dan Harding at left-back while winger Steve de Ridder may have earned a start after coming on at half-time against Hull with Saints 1-0 down. Defenders Radhi Jaidi (knee) and Dan Seaborne (head) remain on the sidelines.
Hull City v Leicester City
Hull will be without teenage winger Robbie Brady. Brady, 19, on loan from Manchester United, was shown a straight red card for serious foul play during the midweek defeat at Southampton and starts a three-game ban. But midfielder Paul McKenna returns to contention following his one-match suspension and caretaker boss Nick Barmby has no other new injury or suspension problems. Striker Aaron Mclean returned to partner Matty Fryatt up front in midweek and the pair are expected to continue.
Leicester manager Nigel Pearson expects to have an unchanged squad. Pearson, who has taken seven points from his first three Championship matches, made one change against Blackpool in midweek as Sol Bamba replaced Sean St Ledger at centre-half. Republic of Ireland international St Ledger, full-back John Pantsil, midfielders Neil Danns, Gelson Fernandes, Yuki Abe and Michael Johnson, and strikers Steve Howard and Jeffrey Schlupp are options for Pearson should he wish to make changes. Striker Darius Vassell, who is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, and defender Aleksandar Tunchev (groin) remain the only players unavailable.
Bristol City v Middlesbrough
Bristol City are sweating over the fitness of Lewin Nyatanga. Defender Nyatanga picked up a knee injury in the 2-2 draw with Watford on Tuesday and is rated doubtful for the clash with Boro. Otherwise, manager Derek McInnes has no new injury or suspension worries as he looks to extend his team's unbeaten run in the npower Championship to seven matches. Striker Jon Stead is back in contention for a place in the Robins' matchday squad after shrugging off a groin problem, while defensive duo Louis Carey and Jamie McAllister are both ready for a comeback following their returns from respective knee and ankle injuries. Fringe players Ryan Taylor (broken metatarsal) and Nicky Hunt (knee) remain sidelined.
Midfielder Barry Robson is a doubt for Middlesbrough. The Scotland international missed Tuesday night's 2-0 home defeat by promotion-chasing West Ham with a thigh problem and his recovery will be assessed in the run-up to the game. But while manager Tony Mowbray will hope to have Robson at his disposal, the former Celtic man's chances of being joined in the squad by compatriot Kevin Thomson look remote. Thomson has missed the last seven games with a hamstring injury and is rated as doubtful for the game at Ashton Gate.
Cardiff City v Birmingham City
Captain Mark Hudson and striker Rudy Gestede could both return to Cardiff's matchday squad. The duo have missed the Bluebirds' last three outings, including the 2-0 Carling Cup quarter-final victory over Blackburn in midweek, with hamstring problems. Should the pair be available, however, manager Malky Mackay would be presented with a selection headache. Hudson's replacement in the Cardiff starting XI, Anthony Gerrard, scored in the win against Blackburn, while Gestede would have to oust Kenny Miller, who also netted against Rovers.
Stephen Carr and Liam Ridgewell will both be assessed. Right-back Carr was rested for the City`s midweek Europa League defeat to Braga in Portugal due to a sore knee while left-back Ridgewell continued to miss out due to his thigh problem. Carr stands a good chance of returning into contention in the Welsh capital but even if Ridgewell passes a fitness test he is unlikely to dislodge David Murphy. Morgaro Gomis returned to the bench at Estadio Municipal de Braga following his calf injury and will hope to feature against Cardiff, but the game comes just too soon for returning midfielder Jordon Mutch (broken ankle).