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Team news: Hulse set to return

Team news: Hulse set to return
By Eurosport

18/12/2010 at 00:26Updated 18/12/2010 at 03:00

Rob Hulse could return to the QPR starting line-up when the leaders travel to Leeds.

Leeds United v QPR

Striker Hulse was restricted to a place on the bench for the 3-1 loss to Watford last Friday due to a stomach upset, but if passed fit he will probably replace Heidar Helguson up front.

Boss Neil Warnock is not planning major changes despite that first defeat of the season so the rest of the team could be unchanged.

Patrick Agyemang missed out against the Hornets with a thigh problem and he could be added to the bench along with fellow striker Antonio German, who has been recalled from a loan spell with Southend.

Defender Peter Ramage and midfielders Akos Buzsaky and Lee Cook are still out with knee injuries.

Leeds' on-loan defender Andy O'Brien is a major doubt for the clash with leaders QPR.

Neill Collins stepped in alongside Alex Bruce in central defence for last week's win at Burnley following O'Brien's late withdrawal due to a thigh strain and will retain his place if the Bolton centre-half fails to make it.

Manager Simon Grayson is not expected to make many changes as his side look to stretch their unbeaten run to nine matches and close the gap on Rangers to three points.

Coventry v Norwich

Coventry will be without captain Lee Carsley for the visit of Norwich although his loss may be countered by the return of Sammy Clingan to face his former employers.

Carsley picked up his fifth booking of the season in last weekend's goalless draw at Reading, resulting in an automatic one-match suspension.

City's stand-in skipper will not be unveiled until Saturday but Aidy Boothroyd's options to replace Carsley in midfield are plentiful.

Midfielder Clingan, who joined the Sky Blues from Norwich last summer, has been ruled out for the past month with a knee injury but trained on Tuesday and will be assessed on Friday. As will Carl Baker who has made a speedy recovery from his hernia operation.

Other options for Boothroyd include moving Aron Gunnarsson into the middle of the park or throwing highly-regarded Conor Thomas in for his first-team debut.

Grant Holt returns to the Norwich line-up for the trip to Coventry.

The Canaries skipper missed last weekend's defeat by Portsmouth through suspension and will start in attack.

Leon Barnett misses the trip to his former club due to a one-match ban following his late red card against Pompey.

The defender is also facing a lengthier suspension after admitting to an FA charge of improper conduct for throwing the ball at referee Simon Hooper, with a disciplinary hearing taking place next week.

One player is a doubt due to illness but boss Paul Lambert would not reveal who it is.

Defenders Adam Drury (calf), Steven Smith (hip) and Zak Whitbread (ankle) and midfielders Andrew Surman (knee), Matt Gill (calf) and Stephen Hughes (ankle) are still out.

Derby v Reading

Captain Robbie Savage and midfield partner James Bailey are expected to return to the Derby starting line- up when Reading visit Pride Park.

Savage missed the defeat to Bristol City with an ankle injury while Bailey was ill last weekend. Both players have resumed training.

Rams boss Nigel Clough is considering resting Tomasz Cywka after feeling the Polish forward looked tired at Ashton Gate, where he made his eighth consecutive start.

Dean Moxey could also come back into the team at full-back should Clough wish to make further changes.

Striker Shefki Kuqi and goalkeeper Frank Fielding will be missing from the squad after returning to Swansea and Blackburn respectively following the end of their loan spells.

Reading could move up to seventh in the Championship, if they can find the net at Derby.

The Royals are on a winless run of six games, having drawn their last five and failed to score in the last two.

Long-term absentee and usual Reading captain Ivar Ingimarsson (hamstring) completed 90 minutes for the reserves in midweek and the defender could feature at Pride Park. His Icelandic compatriot Brynjar Gunnarsson (knee) is also back in training but the defensive midfielder is not expected to start.

Hull v Bristol City

Hull could be without Richard Garcia, Nick Barmby and Mark Cullen for their home game with Bristol City.

Australian midfielder Garcia sustained a knee injury during the first half of last week's goalless draw at Crystal Palace and is expected to miss out.

Veteran playmaker Barmby is definitely out due to a leg infection and striker Cullen has been ruled out due to a twisted ankle sustained in training.

Central defender Daniel Ayala is still struggling with a hamstring injury, but another centre-half, on-loan Anthony Gerrard, is expected to prove his fitness after being forced off against Palace with a calf injury.

Tigers manager Nigel Pearson has no other new injury or suspension problems as his side look to stretch their unbeaten league run to six matches.

Bristol City boss Keith Millen has no new problems ahead of the trip.

Defender Liam Fontaine missed the home victory over Derby after sustaining an ankle injury in training last week.

He is set for at least a month on the sidelines on the advice of a specialist and Millen said: "I'll be sitting down with our medical staff to discuss the way forward. It's not great news and we may have to get another opinion."

Fellow defender Louis Carey has had an injection in his troublesome calf problem. The City skipper has not played since suffering the injury at Leeds on November 13 and could miss the entire Christmas schedule.

Marlon Jackson has returned from his loan spell at Aldershot but the striker is nursing a hamstring strain after playing for the reserves this week.

Millwall v Barnsley

Millwall will be without captain Paul Robinson for the visit of Barnsley.

The defender suffered a hamstring injury during last week's draw at Swansea, and although the problem is not as serious as first feared he will not be ready for the weekend.

Darren Ward is in line for a recall alongside Dan Shittu at the back.

Calvin Andrew has gone back to Crystal Palace after his loan spell was cut short but fellow striker Kevin Lisbie could be a ready-made replacement in the squad having resumed training following a knee injury.

Midfielder Liam Trotter could also return after missing the last two matches with a hamstring problem.

Striker Shaun Batt remains a long-term absentee with a knee injury.

Barnsley defender Matt Hill is back in contention for the trip to Millwall after recovering from a broken bone in his foot.

Hill, who has made only two appearances for Mark Robins' side after being drafted in on loan from Wolves in October, is expected to return to the substitutes' bench.

Robins has no new injury or suspension problems as his side look to extend their unbeaten league run to six matches, but defenders Jay McEveley and Luke Potter (both knee) remain sidelined.

Striker Garry O'Connor, signed on a permanent basis from Birmingham, is not available until his contract at St Andrews expires on New Year's Day, so Andy Gray is expected to return to the starting line-up.

The Tykes have won four of their last five games to close within four points of the play-offs.

Nott'm Forest v Crystal Palace

Nottingham Forest will check on captain Paul McKenna and striker Dele Adebola ahead of the visit of Crystal Palace.

Midfielder McKenna has missed the last four matches with a groin injury while Adebola has been nursing the knee problem that forced him off in the defeat at Leicester on November 29 - the last time Forest played due to the snow and freezing weather conditions.

Aaron Ramsey and Marcus Tudgay will hope to make their full debuts. The pair arrived at the club on loan three weeks ago. Arsenal midfielder Ramsey got a run-out as a second-half substitute against Leicester, while Sheffield Wednesday striker Tudgay was an unused sub at the Walkers Stadium.

Both had been hoping to force their way into the starting line-up at Scunthorpe last weekend but the match, like the game against Bristol City the previous week, was postponed.

Crystal Palace hope to welcome back Darren Ambrose and Alex Marrow for the trip.

Ambrose has stepped up his training this week after missing the goalless draw against Hull with a leg injury and fellow midfielder Marrow is also close after sitting out the last two matches with an ankle problem.

On-loan Hull defender Anthony Gardner returns to the squad as well, having been ineligible to face his parent club.

There will be a change in attack after James Vaughan's loan spell from Everton came to an end last week.

Calvin Andrew has returned from his loan at Millwall and could start, although Sean Scannell provides another option after making his first appearance of the season as a substitute against Hull following a knee injury.

Portsmouth v Scunthorpe

Portsmouth manager Steve Cotterill finds his selection plans disrupted further ahead of the meeting with Scunthorpe.

On-loan Wolves defender Greg Halford is suspended while one or both of Richard Hughes and Michael Brown are set to be left out due to contract issues.

The midfield duo can make just one more appearance each before they trigger automatic extensions to their current deals, which cash-strapped Pompey say they cannot afford, so Cotterill with have juggle his already thin resources.

But left-back Carl Dickinson has completed a three-match ban and is set to come back into the side in place of Halford, who serves a one-game suspension for collecting five bookings.

Striker Danny Webber is still on the sidelines recovering from a cruciate injury.

Scunthorpe boss Ian Baraclough has no fresh injury concerns ahead of his side`s trip to Portsmouth.

The defensive trio of David Mirfin (foot), Niall Canavan (knee) and Michael Raynes (thigh) will definitely miss out as they continue their recovery from injury.

However, midfielder Michael Collins is available again after a shoulder injury as the Iron seek to end a dismal run of five successive npower Championship defeats.

Sheff Utd v Swansea

Sheffield United begin life after Gary Speed with the visit of Swansea to Bramall Lane.

John Carver has been placed in temporary charge following Speed's appointment as the new Wales manager and he will be able to welcome midfielder Lee Williamson back into the squad.

Williamson has been out since April with a back injury but continued his comeback with 60 minutes in the reserves in midweek and could be in contention for a place on the bench.

Striker Jamie Ward has been laid low with a virus over the last week but he has returned to training and should be involved.

Swansea have no injury or suspension concerns as they travel to managerless Sheffield United.

Skipper Garry Monk made his successful comeback from a calf injury in last Friday`s 1-1 draw with Millwall, returning to the centre of defence alongside Ashley Williams.

On-loan striker Jermaine Easter also made his Swans debut as a 56th-minute substitute having recovered from a thigh problem, and he will be hoping for more game time.

How manager Brendan Rodgers opts to line up at Bramall Lane remains to be seen but changes are likely after what was a disappointing display against the Lions, with the likes of Darren Pratley, Stephen Dobbie, David Cotterill and Kemy Agustien possible starters.

Another option is the inclusion of striker Shefki Kuqi in City`s matchday 18 following his return this week from a three-month loan spell at Championship rivals Derby.

Swansea will be coming up against a familiar face in the form of midfielder Leon Britton, who spent eight popular years with the club before completing a summer switch to the Blades.

Watford v Preston

Watford will hope to sustain a four-match unbeaten run as they take on Preston in the Championship.

The Hornets have not lost at home in three matches and will look to use the momentum from the surprise 3-1 victory at QPR to their advantage.

Midfielder Stephen McGinn sustained a broken cheekbone and eye socket in a clash with R's striker Rob Hulse and will sit out first-team action for at least four weeks.

Teenage midfielder Piero Mingoia is fit again after a thigh injury and could be among the substitutes. Michael Bryan has suffered a fresh ankle injury so the winger will not be involved.

Top scorer Danny Graham's hot goal streak is key to the Hornets' chances. Watford can move into the play-off places if they win and promotion rivals Norwich lose.

Preston duo Michael Tonge and Danny Pugh will play the final game of their initial 30-day loans against Watford at Vicarage Road.

But a deal has been struck to keep the Stoke pair for another month, although there is a 24-hour recall clause should they be needed back at the Britannia Stadium.

Iain Hume's 93-day stay from Barnsley has expired, but he is expected to return to Deepdale in a permanent transfer when the transfer window opens in January.

On-loan Manchester United striker Josh King has recovered from an ankle injury and could start up front against the Hornets.

Ipswich v Leicester

Ipswich will be hampered by an assortment of injury problems as they look to arrest their recent run of six consecutive defeats when Leicester are in town.

On-loan Sunderland goalkeeper Marton Fulop (ankle) is touch and go to be included and shotstopper Brian Murphy is likely to continue between the sticks.

Teenage striker Connor Wickham (hip) is another absentee to cause concern for Keane. Northern Irish midfielder Gareth McAuley (Achilles) will have to wait until January to make his return to first-team action.

Luke Hyam could make the substitutes' bench. The young midfielder is nearing recovery from a hamstring injury. Keane has no players serving suspensions and will hope that striker Jason Scotland can get back amongst the goals.

Chris Kirkland could make his debut for Leicester when Sven-Goran Eriksson's side travel to Ipswich.

The goalkeeper has resumed his loan spell with the Foxes after receiving treatment for a back injury at parent club Wigan.

He has trained all week and will continue to be assessed ahead of Saturday evening's televised game. Chris Weale would drop down to the bench should Kirkland get the nod.

On-loan striker Roman Bednar is a slight doubt after he was forced off against Doncaster. The Czech was a doubt with a knock last weekend but started against Rovers only to last 37 minutes.

Dany N'Guessan has returned from his loan spell at Scunthorpe and the forward will hope to be included on the bench.


Cardiff v Burnley