Football - Championship

Team news: Cardiff wait on trio

Cardiff's Aaron Ramsey, Peter Whittingham and Kevin McNaughton will be assessed ahead of their home match with Scunthorpe.

 
Team news: Trio doubtful - Football - ChampionshipPA Photos
 

Cardiff v Scunthorpe

Ramsey is suffering with tendinitis around his knee although it is nothing serious and manager Dave Jones will check on his condition as late as possible, although the on-loan Arsenal man will not be risked if he is not 100%.

Fellow midfielder Whittingham is suffering with a dead leg while full-back Kevin Naughton came off at half-time in last Sunday's 1-0 win at Swansea with a hamstring problem.

Craig Bellamy netted a late wonder goal to secure all three points at the Liberty Stadium but with five games in 15 days now coming up he may well be rested against the struggling Iron.

Lee Naylor missed out against the Swans but is now back in full training, as is Stephen McPhail (hamstring) who will be keen to build on his return to the bench last weekend.

Scunthorpe boss Ian Baraclough is again beset by injuries the game, but Abdisalam Ibrahim is available after suspension.

Goalkeeper Joe Murphy remains sidelined with a groin injury and defensive duo Rob Jones and David Mirfin are are still out as they recover from back and thigh injuries respectively.

Rookie centre-back Niall Canavan is still troubled by tendonitis, Michael O'Connor remains out with a knee injury and Cliff Byrne is battling his way back to fitness after a back problem.

Garry Thompson, meanwhile, has undergone a minor operation on the groin injury which has disrupted his season.

The Iron have lost 10 of their last 12 games, are without a win at home since August and lie second-bottom of the Championship.

Norwich v Reading

Norwich are hopeful of welcoming Andrew Surman back to their squad for the game.

The summer signing from Wolves has not played for the first team since sustaining a knee injury against Ipswich on November 28 but the midfielder made a 68-minute appearance in the Norfolk Senior Cup defeat by Dereham on Tuesday and may take his place in the squad should he come through the final training session at Colney.

Paul Lambert has no new injury problems to contend with as his side look to bounce back from last Saturday's 2-1 defeat by Burnley at Turf Moor.

Midfielder Stephen Hughes, who has made just two appearances so far this season, has joined MK Dons on a one-month loan.

Reading have doubts over top scorer Shane Long ahead of the trip.

Long, who has scored nine times in his last 11 appearances for the Royals, needed an injection in his hip to play against leaders QPR last Friday and for Republic of Ireland against Wales in midweek so will be checked on.

Wales striker Simon Church is likely to be partnered by Noel Hunt if Long is ruled out as manager Brian McDermott has stated that exciting new signing Mathieu Manset is not yet ready to start a game.

Middlebrough v Swansea

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray faces a series of late decisions as he prepares his team for the npower Championship clash with Swansea.

Midfielder Barry Robson could return to the squad after recovering from a gashed ankle which left him on crutches while Marvin Emnes, who had a loan spell with the Welsh club earlier this season, is back in training following a groin problem.

However, full-back Joe Bennett returned from England Under-21s duty nursing a dead leg, Andrew Taylor has been undergoing treatment for a tight hamstring and Julio Arca will have a late fitness check on a toe injury.

New signing Merouane Zemmama is standing by to join fellow January arrival Maximilian Haas in the squad, which could be boosted by the returns of Tarmo Kink from illness and Mickael Tavares from a fractured toe.

Matthew Bates will have scans on his hamstring injury next week while Danny Coyne (back), Stephen McManus and Luke Williams (both ankle ligaments) and Kevin Thomson (hairline fibula fracture) remain on the sidelines.

But Justin Hoyte (hamstring) is due to return to training next week when Rhys Williams (pelvis) and Willo Flood (knee) are expected to play for the reserves.

Swansea could remain unchanged as they look to bounce back from their defeat to Cardiff with a positive result in the north-east.

Brendan Rodgers named the same side to face the Bluebirds as the one who had dismantled Bristol City earlier in the week and only a touch of class from Craig Bellamy separated the two sides last Sunday.

Striker Luke Moore suffered slight concussion during the second half at the Liberty Stadium but, having sat out of training earlier in the week, is due to fly north with the squad and is in contention.

Bristol City v Leeds United

Nicky Maynard will make his long-awaited return to the Bristol City squad when Leeds visit Ashton Gate.

Last season's top scorer has yet to feature this campaign after undergoing knee surgery in the summer.

He topped up his fitness with another run-out for the reserves on Wednesday, and boss Keith Millen said: "He will be in the squad.

"He's a little stiff but he will train on Friday. He's very excited about it and it will be great to see him back."

With Maynard back in the frame, Millen could opt to stick with the three-pronged attack of Brett Pitman, Andy Keogh and David Clarkson that finished the game at Preston last weekend.

If selected, defender Louis Carey will make his 600th appearance for the club.

Leeds manager Simon Grayson has confirmed new loan signing Eric Lichaj will start on the weekend.

American international Lichaj, drafted in from Aston Villa for an initial month this week, will step in for Paul Connolly, who is sidelined due to a hamstring injury.

Striker Sanchez Watt is still out after missing the last two games due to a similar problem.

Winger Robert Snodgrass is expected to be fit following his debut for Scotland in the midweek Carling Nations Cup win over Northern Ireland.

But Grayson has yet to check on strikers Davide Somma and Ramon Nunez, who were also on international duty this week, for South Africa and Honduras respectively.

Sheffield United v Millwall

Sheffield United defender Nyron Nosworthy could be included in the side against Millwall following a six-game absence.

Nosworthy, on loan from Sunderland, sustained an ankle injury against Burnley on New Year's Day and has been sidelined since.

Manager Micky Adams, who this week drafted in former Blades boss Dave Bassett on a consultancy basis, could include Nosworthy in his starting line-up as fellow defender Rob Kozluk is suspended after his dismissal in last week's defeat at Ipswich.

Midfielder Lee Williamson is also banned after being sent off in the same match and striker Ched Evans is doubtful due to the illness which forced him to withdraw from the Wales squad in midweek.

Full-back Jean Calve will be hoping to play some part, as will another defender, Stephen Jordan, who returned to the bench last week following a long-term leg injury.

Adams is chasing his first win in seven matches in charge of the Blades, who lie third from bottom in the table, four points off safety.

Millwall could welcome top scorer Steve Morison back into their side for the trip.

The 13-goal striker, who recently signed a new contract at The Den, was ruled out of last weekend's 1-0 win over Doncaster with a muscle strain.

But he returned to training on Thursday morning and Kenny Jackett will make a late call on whether to include the Wales international.

Norwich loanee Jens Berthel Askou returns from a three-match ban after he was sent off on his Lions debut against Leicester last month.

Derby v Leicester

Dean Leacock will boost Derby's defensive options when in-form East Midlands rivals Leicester visit Pride Park.

The 26-year-old is available again after serving a two-match ban for accumulating 10 yellow cards.

Leacock and Shaun Barker formed the centre-back partnership in most games during the first half of the season but Leacock has started only once since his poor display in the 5-2 defeat to Nottingham Forest at the end of December.

Miles Addison has played alongside Barker in the last two matches - a 2-1 defeat by Ipswich and last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Portsmouth.

Boss Nigel Clough must decide whether to stick with the pairing or recall Leacock and move Addison into midfield.

Jake Buxton is still nursing a slight groin problem while Russell Anderson remains out with a calf injury.

Sol Bamba is a concern for Leicester ahead of the trip.

The Ivory Coast centre-back was forced off with an ankle injury late on in the home victory over Barnsley last weekend.

Boss Sven-Goran Eriksson is considering recalling club captain Matt Oakley to face his former club. The midfielder has started only four games since the Swede took charge in October.

However, Eriksson has turned to the 33-year-old to make an impact as a substitute in recent games and the manager has hinted he may call upon Oakley at Pride Park.

Watford v Burnley

Watford will make a late check on defender Lloyd Doyley ahead of the clash with Burnley.

Full-back Doyley came off with 12 minutes remaining at Nottingham Forest last Saturday with a hamstring injury and had a scan to assess the damage on Tuesday.

No serious damage was found but the popular player will face a late fitness test.

Winger Don Cowie, meanwhile, has been out for three weeks with a thigh complaint but could return after training this week.

Striker Marvin Sordell scored for the England Under-20s in their 2-1 defeat to France in midweek but should be fit to continue his partnership with Danny Graham.

Midfielder Ross Jenkins was back on the bench last weekend after struggling with a tight hamstring while defender Lee Hodson suffered bruising on foot while playing for Northern Ireland in midweek and is doubtful.

Burnley boss Eddie Howe will again be without striker Martin Paterson when his side make the trip.

Paterson could be out for the rest of the season following the recurrence of a thigh injury in the recent defeat at Doncaster.

Scans confirmed the club's worst fears and Howe admitted the Northern Ireland international is unlikely to play again this season.

Midfielder Chris McCann (knee) remains a long-term absentee but the Clarets have no other major concerns as they bid to maintain their promotion challenge.

Coventry v Crystal Palace

Coventry are boosted by the return of Marlon King for the visit of Crystal Palace while Keiren Westwood is expected to shrug off a minor calf problem.

King missed last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Leeds through flu but is now back in training.

Westwood, meanwhile, missed the chance to come on for the Republic of Ireland in midweek due to a sore calf but should be okay.

Skipper Lee Carsley (Achilles and hernia surgery) and centre-back Ben Turner (knee) are back in training but Saturday is likely to come just too soon.

Midfielder Sammy Clingan withdrew from international duty with Northern Ireland in midweek due to his troublesome knee injury and is not expected to be fit.

Nathan Cameron, Jordan Clarke and Freddy Eastwood all featured for their respective nations and came through unscathed. Central defender James McPake remains sidelined for the foreseeable future with his lower back complaint.

Nathaniel Clyne and Neil Danns are likely to miss Palace's trip to Coventry.

Right-back Clyne was this week ruled out of the England Under-20 clash with France due to a knee injury and is set to lose his ever-present record this season.

Midfielder Danns is still struggling with the back problem which sidelined him for last Saturday's win over Middlesbrough and manager Dougie Freedman rates him doubtful.

Hull v Preston

Hull manager Nigel Pearson is expected to name an unchanged side for the game at the KC Stadium.

Pearson has no new injury or suspension problems and will be loathe to change a winning formula following last week's 5-1 derby triumph at Scunthorpe.

Defender Liam Rosenior could return to the squad after his recent aerial collision with Leeds midfielder Lloyd Sam but James Harper is still struggling with a foot problem.

Goalkeeper Vito Mannone, on loan from Arsenal, remains sidelined with a groin injury, so Brad Guzan will continue, while strike pair Matty Fryatt and Aaron Mclean will be looking to add to the five goals they scored between them at Glanford Park.

Midfielder Tom Cairney was forced off against Scunthorpe and replaced by player-coach Nick Barmby, but is expected to be in contention again, but winger Richard Garcia is still working his way back following knee surgery.

Preston boss Phil Brown could swing the axe when he returns to Hull with his side rock-bottom of the Championship.

North End have yet to win since Brown was appointed last month and were thumped 4-0 at home by Bristol City last weekend.

Rookie defender Conor McLaughlin suffered a fracture to his left fibula and a dislocated ankle in that loss and now faces six to eight months on the sidelines.

Doncaster v Portsmouth

Doncaster goalkeeper Neil Sullivan (shin) and midfielder James Coppinger (ankle) are expected to return to the squad, as is defender Joe Mills following the extension of his loan spell from Southampton.

Central defender Matt Kilgallon and midfielder Mark Wilson (both hamstring) are hoping to prove their fitness, but defenders Shelton Martis (ankle), Mustapha Dumbuya (knee) and Wayne Thomas (calf), striker James Hayter (calf) and midfielders Simon Gillett (knee) and Martin Woods (groin) all remain sidelined.

Portsmouth will be without captain Aaron Mokoena, who is stuck in South Africa awaiting a new work permit as his old one has expired.

Defender Tal Ben Haim and midfielders Richard Hughes and Michael Brown are all still unavailable due to contract issues, while left-back Carl Dickinson will probably be on the bench again despite an ongoing knee problem.

Barnsley v Ipswich

Barnsley manager Mark Robins is hoping to have skipper Stephen Foster available after three games out with a gashed shin.

Jay McEveley (knee) is back in full training but is still a few weeks away from a return to action, with fellow defender Luke Potter (knee) the only other absentee.

Ipswich had 10 players away on international duty this week, and the likes of Gareth McAuley, Tamas Priskin, Jaime Peters and Marton Fulop were not due back until today.

Winger Luciano Civelli came off the bench in last weekend's win against Sheffield United for his first appearance since sustaining knee ligament damage in March 2009 and stays in the squad. Midfielder Andy Drury could be included for the first time since his move from Luton while striker Jason Scotland will feature despite being linked with a return to Swansea.

QPR v Nottingham Forest (Sunday)

QPR hope to welcome back Tommy Smith (hamstring) and Heidar Helguson (groin), but Hogan Ephraim starts a three-match ban.

Fellow winger Wayne Routledge should play despite needing a course of antibiotics for an abscess on his tooth, while midfielder Akos Buzsaky played for the reserves this week after four months out with a knee injury but will not be rushed back.

Forest boss Billy Davies, manager of the month for January, will select from the same set of players that won for a seventh successive league game against Watford last weekend but may make changes to his starting XI.

Midfielder Guy Moussi is still nursing the thigh problem that ruled him out against Watford, while January signing Robbie Findley must continue to wait for his debut due to a thigh injury.

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