Stephen Dobbie, Swansea City - PA Photos
 
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Team news: Dobbie pushing for Swansea start

Team news: Dobbie pushing for Swansea start

By PA Sport
Last update The 25/02/2011 at 18:46 -
By PA Sport - The 25/02/2011 at 18:46
Stephen Dobbie is pushing to start Swansea's crunch lunchtime kick-off against promotion rivals Leeds having come off the bench to bag the winner against Coventry in midweek.
 

All kick-offs are 15:00 UK time unless otherwise stated

Swansea City v Leeds United (12:45)

Stephen Dobbie is pushing to start Swansea's crunch lunchtime kick-off against promotion rivals Leeds having come off the bench to bag the winner against Coventry in midweek. Dobbie was one of three changes against the Sky Blues with Moore and Joe Allen also making way for Leon Britton, Darren Pratley and Craig Beattie.

Manager Brendan Rodgers is again now faced with a decision as to who he goes with from the off as second meets sixth at the Liberty Stadium.

Left-back Neil Taylor went through a handful of shirts on Tuesday as the club's medical staff struggled to stop bleeding from a head wound sustained early on but he completed the 90 minutes and should be fit. Captain Garry Monk (knee) and midfielder Andrea Orlandi (thigh) again miss out.

Leeds will be without suspended midfielder Bradley Johnson for the clash. Johnson sits out a one-game ban after receiving two yellow cards in the midweek draw with Barnsley and manager Simon Grayson must consider his options.

Lloyd Sam and Sanchez Watt will both be hoping to force their way into Grayson's starting line-up in Johnson's absence, while the only other absentee is right-back Paul Connolly, who is still nursing a hamstring problem.

Davide Somma is pushing for a return to the starting XI and fellow strikers Billy Paynter and Ross McCormack will also be bidding to play a bigger role at the Liberty Stadium. Grayson has no other new injury or suspension problems as his side, unbeaten in their last seven league games, look to return to winning ways after successive draws.

Middlesbrough v Queens Park Rangers

Middlesbrough midfielder Barry Robson could return to the squad for the clash with leaders QPR. The 32-year-old missed the 3-2 win at Millwall with a hamstring injury, but was due to resume training on Thursday and should be available as long as he suffers no reaction. That will come as a welcome boost to manager Tony Mowbray as he continues to deal with a lengthy injury list.

Keeper Danny Coyne could return in a fortnight as he recovers from hernia surgery and a back problem, while central defender Stephen McManus is three weeks away from resuming training after ankle ligament damage. Rhys Williams is stepping up his bid for match-fitness following a long-term pelvic injury, but Willo Flood's comeback from a dislocated kneecap is being delayed by a thigh strain.

Justin Hoyte's expected return from a hamstring injury has been put back by a similar problem, while Kevin Thomsonand Matthew Bates remain on the sidelines.

Hogan Ephraim returns to the QPR squad for the trip to Middlesbrough but Tommy Smith will miss out again. Ephraim has completed a three-match ban for his red card at Reading earlier this month and will probably be on the bench.

Fellow winger Smith has yet to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained against Nottingham Forest a fortnight ago, although boss Neil Warnock hopes he will be back to face Leicester next weekend.

Danny Shittu and Fitz Hall look set to keep their places in central defence after replacing Matt Connolly and Kaspars Gorkss against Ipswich in midweek and helping the leaders to a 2-0 win. Fellow defender Peter Ramage (cruciate) and strikers Patrick Agyemang and Jamie Mackie (both broken leg) are long-term absentees.

Millwall v Nottingham Forest

Martin Rowlands is added to the Millwall squad for the visit of Nottingham Forest. The midfielder has moved to The Den on a month's loan from London rivals QPR. Lions boss Kenny Jackett swooped for the experienced Irishman after learning Jimmy Abdou is facing a spell on the sidelines with a knee ligament injury which could keep him out until mid-April.

Rowlands, Arsenal loanee Craig Eastmond or Tamika Mkandawire will replace Abdou in the centre. Striker Josh McQuoid could return to the squad following an ankle injury which has kept him out since January.

But Lions stalwart Neil Harris may start alongside top scorer Steve Morison in attack after grabbing his second goal in two games as a substitute against Reading in midweek.

Paul Konchesky has added to Nottingham Forest`s growing injury problems ahead of the match. The on-loan Liverpool full-back was forced off with a hamstring injury midway through the second half of the home draw against Preston.

Forwards Nathan Tyson and Robert Earnshaw missed out in midweek with ankle and back problems respectively, and all three players are considered doubts.

Boss Billy Davies is boosted by the return of Radoslaw Majewski after the Polish midfielder completed a three-match suspension against Preston. However, the Scot will continue to be without defender Kelvin Wilson, midfielder Guy Moussi (thigh) and strikers Robbie Findley (thigh) and Dexter Blackstock (knee). Joel Lynch is likely to come into the side if Konchesky misses out, while Dele Adebola and Garath McCleary are also available for recalls.

Hull City v Cardiff City

Hull have no new injury or suspension problems and are expected to be unchanged for their home clash with Cardiff. Teenager Cameron Stewart appears to be a long-term absentee as he awaits the full prognosis on a knee injury sustained in last weekend's draw at Ipswich. Jamie Devitt replaced Stewart on the wing at Portman Road, but James Harper was manager Nigel Pearson's preferred choice to start in the midweek win at Derby.

Vito Mannone, on loan from Arsenal, returned to the substitutes' bench following a two-month injury lay-off on Tuesday night and is pushing for a return to the starting line-up, but Brad Guzan is expected to continue in goal in his last game while on loan from Aston Villa.

Striker Jay Simpson is anxious to make his first start since the home FA Cup defeat to Wigan in January as the Tigers look to make it just one defeat in 19 league matches.

Cardiff will check on Seyi Olofinjana ahead of the trip to Hull as the on-loan Tigers man bids to line up against his parent club. The midfielder, on a season-long deal from the KC Stadium, is struggling with a knee problem sustained in the 2-0 victory over Leicester on Tuesday. Olofinjana is allowed to play under the terms of his loan, as is Bluebirds defender Anthony Gerrard for the hosts, and the powerful Nigerian even bagged the opener in a 2-0 Cardiff victory when the two sides met in September.

Manager Dave Jones is also waiting on winger Jason Koumas, who has been struggling with illness, but captain Craig Bellamy is fit after a virus kept him out in midweek.

Striker Michael Chopra is again set to heavily strap his foot and be available for selection, while on-loan Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey plays his final game for the Bluebirds before returning to the Emirates.

Barnsley v Norwich City

Barnsley could hand late fitness tests to midfield pair Nathan Doyle and Jacob Mellis ahead of the home clash with Norwich. Doyle is a major doubt after being replaced at half-time during the midweek draw at Leeds due to a calf injury, while Mellis, on loan from Chelsea, was withdrawn in the closing stages due to a tight hamstring.

Jim O'Brien is expected to continue in midfield if Doyle fails to make it, with Goran Lovre and Frank Nouble, on loan from West Ham, providing manager Mark Robins with alternative options.

Fellow midfielder Hugo Colace remains sidelined after tearing an abductor muscle in training and skipper Stephen Foster is still nursing a leg muscle problem, so Paul McShane, on loan from Hull, is likely to continue in defence. Defenders Jay McEveley and Luke Potter both remain sidelined with long-term knee injuries.

Norwich manager Paul Lambert could name an unchanged side for the trip. The Canaries were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Doncaster in midweek and Lambert has reported no fresh injury concerns from that game.

Aaron Wilbraham has yet to score for the club since joining from MK Dons in January but is expected to continue to partner captain Grant Holt as Simeon Jackson is without a goal in four months. Fellow forward Chris Martin remains sidelined with his hamstring injury while midfielder Simon Lappin will also be out for around a fortnight after having an appendectomy last week.

Leon Barnett has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury but fellow defender Jens Berthel Askou is back from his loan spell at Millwall.

Leicester City v Coventry City

Darius Vassell is expected to be fit in time for Leicester`s clash with Midlands rivals Coventry. The former Aston Villa and Manchester City striker, who was on the bench against Cardiff on Tuesday night due to a tight hamstring, has been ill this week.

Fellow forward Steve Howard is manager Sven-Goran Eriksson`s only other injury problem. Howard has missed the last three matches with an ankle knock and will remain on the sidelines.

Eriksson has options should he wish to make changes with defenders Bruno Berner and Miguel Vitor, midfielders Matt Oakley and Yuki Abe and striker Martyn Waghorn available for recalls. Leicester have yet to lose a league game at the Walkers Stadium since Eriksson took charge in October.

Coventry's Clive Platt is expected to return to contention for the trip. The striker picked up a knock which ruled him out of Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Swansea, although he is likely to make a speedy recovery to stake his claim for a starting berth at the Walkers Stadium.

Midfielder Sammy Clingan made his comeback as an unused substitute against the Swans and will feature again. Manager Aidy Boothroyd will continue to assess skipper Lee Carsley (Achilles and hernia surgery) and influential centre-back Ben Turner (knee).

The Sky Blues sustained no new injury problems in midweek, with the likes of winger Gary McSheffrey and striker Freddy Eastwood pushing to start against the Foxes having been relegated to the bench in recent games.

Ipswich Town v Portsmouth

Ipswich midfielder Colin Healy has been ruled out of the visit of Portsmouth. The Irishman could only manage 40 minutes of the midweek defeat at QPR before going off with a stomach injury

Former Luton winger Adam Drury replaced Healy at Loftus Road and could be handed a starting berth in a 4-4-2 formation as boss Paul Jewell looks for a return to winning ways. Captain David Norris is not expected back for another week or so as he recovers from injuries to his ankle and knee.

Goalkeeper Brian Murphy has stepped up his comeback from a broken ankle after coming out of plaster and will be back in around a month, meaning Marton Fulop will continue.

Kanu should return to the Portsmouth squad for the trip to Ipswich but Liam Lawrence remains a doubt. Former Arsenal striker Kanu was absent from Tuesday night's 1-0 win over Crystal Palace after flying home to Nigeria for personal reasons but he is expected back in time for the weekend.

However, Lawrence is struggling to recover from the calf tear which kept him out in midweek. The winger is using an oxygen chamber every day in a bid to speed up the healing process.

Boss Steve Cotterill will stick with a back four of Ritchie de Laet, Greg Halford, Ricardo Rocha and Hermann Hreidarsson after three successive clean sheets, meaning skipper Aaron Mokoena will have to make do with a place on the bench again.

Doncaster Rovers v Watford

Doncaster striker Billy Sharp has an outside chance of returning to the squad for the home game with Watford. Leading goalscorer Sharp has missed the last three matches due to a groin injury, but returned to full training this week and may be included in manager Sean O'Driscoll's depleted squad.

Midfielder Simon Gillett (knee) and defender Shelton Martis (ankle) could also return to the substitutes' bench following long-term injuries, but O'Driscoll is still without a long list of first-team players. Midfielders James Coppinger (calf), Martin Woods (groin) and Ryan Mason (leg), striker James Hayter (calf) as well as defenders James Chambers (hamstring), James O'Connor (foot) and Mustapha Dumbuya (knee) all remain sidelined, but several players are close to a return to full training.

O'Driscoll's side halted a run of four straight league defeats in midweek with a 1-1 draw at Norwich, where on-loan pair Jason Euell and Frank Moussa both made their second appearances for the club.

Watford manager Malky Mackay is hopeful of having winger Will Buckley back for the trip. Former Rochdale man Buckley has been out for around a fortnight with an ankle problem but is back in light training and could feature at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Youngster Michael Bryan has been out with an ankle injury but has also returned to training though he is not expected to feature in Yorkshire. Teenage right-back Adam Thompson made his first start at Reading last weekend and will keep his place as Lloyd Doyley remains sidelined with the hamstring injury that has interrupted his season.

Doyley is expected to be out for at least a fortnight, while Tottenham winger Andros Townsend has returned to White Hart Lane after a month on loan. The winger was scheduled to remain with the Championship club until the end of the season but has returned to his parent club with immediate effect.

Crystal Palace v Reading

Alex Marrow is poised to return to the Crystal Palace squad for the visit of Reading. The former Blackburn midfielder has missed the last three matches due to an ankle injury but is expected to be passed fit in time to face the Royals. Left-back David Wright has been deputising in midfield and could be the man to give way.

Nathaniel Clyne is playing despite an ongoing knee problem which has restricted his training and should be okay to continue, but fellow full-back Lee Hills remains a long-term absentee with a knee injury.

Everton loanee James Vaughan will continue as the lone frontman with boss Dougie Freedman sticking with the 4-5-1 formation which has brought eight consecutive clean sheets at Selhurst Park.

Reading will have midfielder Jem Karacan back in the fold for the clash. Karacan has missed the last three games through suspension but is available again.

Central defender Alex Pearce is still missing with a thigh injury, while Alex McCarthy will continue in goal. The 21-year-old made his full debut for the Royals in the midweek win over Millwall as number one Adam Federicicontinues to be troubled with a knee injury. The Australian was forced off with six minutes remaining of the 1-1 draw with Watford last Saturday so Mikkel Andersen will be on the bench as cover.

Striker Mathieu Manset is a doubt with a calf injury so former taxi driver Brett Williams could be on the bench again.

Bristol City v Scunthorpe United

Bristol City have no new problems ahead of the visit of struggling Scunthorpe. Keith Millen admitted he had some players - including Nicky Maynard - suffering from a bit of stiffness but the Robins boss will pick from an unchanged squad. Maynard marked his first start of the season following a serious knee injury with a goal in the 3-1 victory at Watford in midweek.

Two starts in a week might be asking too much of last season`s top goalscorer so he may drop back down to the bench. Andy Keogh and Brett Pitman would come into contention to replace Maynard.

Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Lee Johnson are also available for recalls should Millen wish to make further changes. Martyn Woolford, who joined City from Scunthorpe during the January transfer window, will face his former club for the first time.

Scunthorpe boss Ian Baraclough may shuffle his pack when his side make the trip to Bristol. The Iron have taken seven points from their past three games and are in buoyant mood after beating Sheffield United 3-2 in midweek.

However, Baraclough made three substitutions during the second half and is keen to avoid fatigue ahead of the trip to Ashton Gate. He said: "Because of tiredness I might have to make one or two changes now, and everyone has to be bang at it and ready to go."

Abdisalam Ibrahim and Eddie Nolan will come into contention but striker Chris Dagnall will be assessed as he bids to shake off a knee problem. Joe Murphy, Rob Jones, Niall Canavan, Michael O'Connor, Garry Thompson and Cliff Byrne are all set to remain sidelined due to injury.

Preston North End v Burnley

Preston manager Phil Brown hopes to have strikers Iain Hume and Chris Brown available for the home clash with rivals Burnley. Both men have been sidelined with hamstring and knee injuries respectively in recent weeks but are edging closer to full fitness and may come into contention to face the Clarets.

Yet Deepdale boss Brown admits competition for places is increasing after two improved performances saw his side hold high-flying QPR and Nottingham Forest to draws in the past week.

He said: "It's going to be difficult to pick a team but that is my job. Now we are a team and I believe that we will cause more teams more problems." Brown has yet to taste victory since taking charge at Deepdale last month.

Charlie Austin and Marvin Bartley return to the Burnley squad for the trip. The January signings were cup-tied for Monday's 5-1 FA Cup fifth-round thumping against West Ham at Upton Park but will come back into contention to face the Lilywhites.

Striker Martin Paterson could be out for the rest of the season with a thigh injury and midfielder Chris McCann also remains sidelined.

Despite the disappointment of exiting the FA Cup, boss Eddie Howe is confident his men can quickly refocus their sights on the battle for promotion. He said: "We've had a good little run in the FA Cup and now our focus has to turn to the league."

Sheffield United v Derby County

Sheffield United's recent loan signing Bjorn Helge Riise is the club's latest injury doubt for the home game with Derby. Midfielder Riise, who has made three appearances for the Blades since arriving on loan from Fulham, sustained a hamstring strain in the midweek defeat at Scunthorpe and is doubtful. Mark Yeates will step back in should he fail to make it.

Sam Vokes remains doubtful with a similar problem. The Wolves striker has made just one appearance for the Blades since arriving from Wolves on the same day as Riise. Another loanee, Aston Villa defender Shane Lowry, is supended following his red card at Scunthorpe, so Johnny Ertl is likely to be recalled to the back four.

Chris Morgan along with fellow defenders Andy Taylor and Ryan France, goalkeeper Richard Wright, striker Darius Henderson and midfielder Nick Montgomery all remain sidelined as manager Micky Adams chases his first win after 11 games in charge.

Frank Fielding is set to start in goal for Derby. The Blackburn keeper, who had a loan spell with the Rams earlier this season, is poised to return to Pride Park after first-choice Stephen Bywater (rib) and understudy Saul Deeney (shoulder) picked up injuries.

Young keeper Ross Atkins has been recalled from his loan spell at Tamworth and will be on the bench. Gareth Roberts (shin) and James Bailey (groin) are doubts but Dean Leacock could return from illness and Paul Green is expected to recover from a knee injury.

On-loan forward Jamie Ward is ineligible to face his parent club so Theo Robinson should make his full debut in attack.

 
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