Football - Championship

Team news: Lallana to return for Saints

All the team news ahead of the Championship weekend with Adam Lallana set to return to action for Southampton.

 
Team news: Lallana returns - Football - ChampionshipPA Photos
 

SATURDAY 3pm

Barnsley v Bristol City

Barnsley manager Keith Hill has no new injury or suspension worries. But the Tykes will still be without strikers Danny Haynes and Reuben Noble-Lazarus, winger Matty Done, defender Bobby Hassell and midfielders Goren Lovre and David Perkin.

Bristol City will be without defensive casualties Louis Carey and Jamie McAllister. Veteran centre-back Carey is still suffering with a knee injury, while McAllister continues his rehabilitation from an ankle knock and neither will be available to face the Tykes. However, manager Derek McInnes has been boosted by the news Cole Skuse will be fit for the visit to Oakwell.

Birmingham City v Brighton and Hove Albion

Centre-back Curtis Davies passed a late fitness test on his leg to start while midfielder Wade Elliott (calf) and defender Pablo Ibanez (concussion) will be assessed having missed out. Jordon Mutch remains sidelined for around another month as he concludes his rehabilitation from a broken ankle.

Brighton will be without Gary Dicker. The midfielder will have an operation early next week after suffering a fractured fibula during the 1-0 home defeat against West Ham on Monday night and faces three months on the sidelines. But boss Gus Poyet can welcome Vicente back into his squad after the former Spain midfielder missed the Seagulls' last two matches due to a thigh injury. Goalkeeper Steve Harper and full-back Gonzalo Jara made their debuts against the Hammers after joining on loan last week and look set to keep their places.

Crystal Palace v Reading

Crystal Palace will check on Darren Ambrose. Midfielder Ambrose suffered a knock on his leg as he slid in to score Palace's first goal in Tuesday night's 2-0 Carling Cup win over Southampton and limped off shortly after. Manager Dougie Freedman made seven changes to his line-up against Saints so the likes of goalkeeper Julian Speroni, defender Anthony Gardner, midfielder Mile Jedinak, wingers Wilfried Zaha and Sean Scannell and striker Glenn Murray are expected to return. Left-back Lee Hills (knee) and midfielder Alex Marrow (ankle) are still on the sidelines.

Reading manager Brian McDermott has a full complement of players to choose from. Midfielder Jay Tabb, who suffered a horrible head injury in the win at Burnley on October 15 and has missed the Royals' last two games with concussion, is available for selection if required.

Derby County v Portsmouth

Derby hope to have stand-in skipper Jason Shackell available. The defender, an ever-present for the Rams this season following his summer switch from Barnsley, will not train until Friday at the earliest but manager Nigel Clough expects the 28-year-old to be fit. Shackell limped off after 57 minutes of the 2-0 defeat at Middlesbrough last weekend with a hip problem. He has not trained this week, nor has his central defensive partner Mark O'Brien, who is also expected to recover from a niggle in time.

Portsmouth will check on Benjani. The striker missed last weekend's 3-1 win over Doncaster after suffering a minor hamstring tear at Ipswich the previous Tuesday. Defender Hermann Hreidarsson is the only definite injury absentee with a recurrence of an Achilles problem.

Doncaster Rovers v Coventry City

Doncaster have been dealt a blow after it emerged John Oster requires surgery on a neck injury. The former Sunderland man will be on the sidelines alongside Chris Brown, who, despite taking part in light training, is still not ready to return. Martin Woods may be back in the fold following a hip injury after partaking in a practice match this week. Meanwhile, defender Rachid Bouhenna turned an ankle in training and will also miss out.

Coventry hope to welcome back Gary McSheffrey and Carl Baker. Winger McSheffrey has missed City`s last three games with a back problem while midfielder Baker has been sidelined for almost six weeks with an ankle injury. While the pair will hope to bring some welcome experience into Coventry`s squad, manager Andy Thorn will be without rookie midfielder Gael Bigirimana, who starts a three-match suspension. Recently-returned defender Richard Wood is also doubtful having sustained a knock against the Clarets and will be assessed, with Nathan Cameron on standby to step in if required.

Millwall v Ipswich Town

Kenny Jackett is likely to stick with the side which did for Sven-Goran Eriksson. Eriksson was shown the door by Leicester earlier this week following Millwall's shock 3-0 victory last Saturday. Darius Henderson, who scored a hat-trick at the King Power Stadium, will be partnered by Jay Simpson in attack again.

Ipswich boss Paul Jewell is hopeful Ibrahima Sonko and Damien Delaney will both be fit. Jewell will definitely have to reshuffle his backline to cover the suspension of Aaron Cresswell, who saw red against the Eagles and now serves a one-match ban. Michael Chopra will start against the Lions after dropping to the bench last weekend and coming on as a second-half substitute.

Nottingham Forest v Hull City

Greg Cunningham is set to make his debut. Cunningham joined the Reds on loan from Manchester City this week and is expected to line up at left-back, where Chris Gunter deputised against Blackpool after Clint Hill was recalled by QPR. Gunter could return to the right side of midfield with Jonathan Greening, who played there against Blackpool, among the candidates to replace the suspended Guy Moussi in central midfield. Moussi must serve a one-match ban.

Hull manager Nigel Pearson is unlikely to risk throwing Martyn Waghorn back into the fray. Waghorn, on loan from Leicester, has been struggling with a hamstring strain that has forced him to miss the last two matches and will not be rushed back. Aaron Mclean partnered Matty Fryatt up front in last week's home win over Watford, while Dele Adebola, who appeared as a second-half substitute last week, provides Pearson with another option.

Southampton v Middlesbrough

Adam Lallana could be back in the Southampton squad. Saints' star midfielder has missed the last four matches with a foot injury but has been training this week and boss Nigel Adkins says he is close to returning. Skipper Dean Hammond is available after a one-match ban kept him out of Tuesday night's 2-0 Carling Cup defeat at Crystal Palace and defender Jose Fonte should return after a slight hamstring problem.

Scottish midfielder Kevin Thomson has a hamstring injury and will miss out. Matthew Bates requires a late fitness test due to a foot problem but goalkeeper Carl Ikeme is certainly out.

Watford v Peterborough United

Michael Kightly and Lloyd Doyley will be assessed. On-loan winger Kightly was forced off with a hamstring injury in last Wednesday's 2-0 defeat at Leicester and duly missed Saturday`s 3-2 loss at Hull, he now faces a race against time to be fit for this weekend. Manager Sean Dyche will be hoping Doyley makes it against Posh with fellow defender Martin Taylor already sidelined with a collarbone injury which has ruled him out of the last two games. One player definitely available and hoping to make his Hornets debut is striker Craig Beattie, who sealed a loan move from Swansea at the start of this week.

Lee Tomlin's suspension means Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson will be forced into at least one change. Tomlin's absence could open the door for Paul Taylor to return to the side while David Ball is another option for Ferguson, who has named the same starting XI for the past three matches. Craig Alcock was forced off at half-time against Leeds due to a leg injury but the full-back should be fit for Saturday.

West Ham v Leicester City

Henri Lansbury (knee) and Matthew Taylor (calf) have added to West Ham's injury problems. Sam Allardyce is already deprived of striker Carlton Cole due to a knee injury, while James Tomkins (groin), Robert Green (knee), Gary O'Neil (ankle) and Guy Demel (hamstring) remain sidelined.

Leicester begin life after Sven-Goran Eriksson with a difficult trip to high-flying West Ham. Academy director Jon Rudkin and coach Mike Stowell have been preparing the team since the Swede's departure on Monday. They inherit a squad with no new problems following the surprise 3-0 home defeat to Millwall last weekend, which proved to be Eriksson`s final game in charge. Captain Matt Mills will complete his three-match suspension but Paul Gallagher could be in contention to return to the squad.

SATURDAY 5.20pm

Burnley v Blackpool

Burnley are boosted by the return of Junior Stanislas. The forward was missing on Tuesday night as the Clarets crashed out of the Carling Cup courtesy of a 1-0 defeat at Cardiff. However, having been cup-tied against the Bluebirds, he returns to boost Eddie Howe's depleted squad. The former Bournemouth manager must still make do without Michael Duff (knee) and Martin Paterson (thigh), who, despite returning to training, are no closer to returns.

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway must decide whether to restore Keith Southern to his starting XI. The midfielder had to settle for a place on the bench in last weekend's clash with Nottingham Forest, but after the Tangerines suffered a 2-1 defeat, he may come back into the starting line-up. Lomana LuaLua, signed on a free transfer until the end of the season, is still two weeks away from full fitness, although he may be among the substitutes.

SUNDAY 1.15pm

Leeds United v Cardiff City

Leeds will continue to monitor the fitness of winger Robert Snodgrass. Snodgrass sat out last weekend's win at Peterborough due to a back problem, but returned for the midweek defeat at Birmingham and played the full 90 minutes. Midfielder Mika Vayrynen made his league debut for the club at Peterborough and after dropping back to the substitutes' bench on Wednesday night was a 77th-minute replacement for Adam Clayton. Paul Rachubka will retain his place in goal as Andy Lonergan is sidelined with a fractured finger.

Cardiff are sweating on the fitness of striker Kenny Miller after the forward sustained a head injury in the 5-3 win over Barnsley last weekend. With Rudy Gestede also ruled out for several weeks with a hamstring problem, manager Malky Mackay may turn his attention to young hot-shot Joe Mason, who bagged his second goal in as many games against the Clarets in midweek. And Mason is eager to prove himself in the Championship following his move from Plymouth in the summer.

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