Football - Championship

Team news: Vassell back for Foxes

All the team news ahead of the Championship fixtures at the weekend with Darius Vassell returning from suspension to boost Leicester.

 
Vassell back for Foxes - Football - ChampionshipPA Photos
 

SATURDAY 3pm

Brighton v Blackpool

Will Buckley could return to the Brighton squad. Winger Kazenga LuaLua has missed the last three games with his hamstring injury and remains a doubt. Boss Gus Poyet is hoping to tie up the signing of midfielder Ryan Harley from Swansea ahead of the game. Defenders Tommy Elphick (Achilles) and Adam El-Abd (foot) are still on the sidelines.

Ian Holloway could ring the changes. The Seasiders slumped to a disappointing 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Derby on Wednesday and Holloway, who has no major injury concerns, could not hide his frustration afterwards. Matt Hill replaced Craig Cathcart in the starting line-up against the Rams in a tactical switch after Holloway sought to bring greater experience to his defence..

Bristol City v Portsmouth

Bristol City boss Keith Millen is expected to stick with the same side that beat Leicester in midweek for their home game against Portsmouth. That means no place for veteran goalkeeper David James against his former club. The 41-year-old was dropped to the bench against Leicester in favour of Dean Gerken.

Benjani could start his first game for Portsmouth since January 2008. If he starts, Benjani is likely to replace Kanu alongside midweek goalscorer Dave Kitson in attack. Norway forward Erik Huseklepp could also be added to the squad if his proposed switch from Bari is completed in time. Skipper Liam Lawrence has been playing despite an ongoing hamstring problem and should be fine to continue.

Burnley v Cardiff

Burnley boss Eddie Howe will be without Marvin Bartley for the home clash with promotion rivals Cardiff but new signing Zavon Hines could make his debut. Midfielder Bartley begins a three-match ban after being sent off during last weekend's 2-0 defeat against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Cardiff manager Malky Mackay may make changes. Summer signing Aron Gunnarsson may be fit enough to return. The Iceland international missed the Brighton game with the ankle injury he picked up in last week's win over Bristol City.

Coventry City v Watford

Coventry's already depleted ranks are stretched further by the loss of Gary McSheffrey. The influential winger was forced off nursing a hamstring injury in the 18th minute of Tuesday's cruel late 2-1 reverse at Crystal Palace. Midfielder David Bell (hamstring) was the latest casualty to join the ranks before the Selhurst Park clash, with Gary Deegan (thigh), Clive Platt (knock), Richard Wood (thigh) and Jordan Clarke (knee) already sidelined.

Chris Iwelumo is a doubt. The striker has emerged with a hip injury from the club's 4-0 defeat to West Ham on Tuesday night - their second successive home reverse - and is being monitored by medical staff at Vicarage Road. Manager Sean Dyche has been forced to defend Iwelumo from some early-season criticism, with the Scot having failed to find the net in three starts for his new club.

Derby County v Doncaster Rovers

The Rams may be nursing a few minor niggles following the game at Blackpool on Wednesday night, where a 1-0 victory meant they started the league season with three consecutive wins for the first time since 1948. Midfielder James Bailey (ankle) and striker Jamie Ward (hamstring) were doubts in midweek but both started against Ian Holloway`s side.

Doncaster boss Sean O'Driscoll has been handed a major boost after rookie Chelsea striker Milan Lalkovic arrived on a one-month loan deal. The 18-year-old Slovakian scored the winner for Chelsea's reserves on Monday night in a 3-2 win over Sunderland at Stamford Bridge. The Slovakia Under-21 international has joined Rovers following injuries to strike trio James Hayter (knee), Billy Sharp (ankle) and Ryan Mason (ankle).

Hull City v Crystal Palace

Hull winger Robbie Brady hopes to shake off a virus in time to start in the home game with Crystal Palace. The Irish teenager has started in all three of the Tigers' league games since arriving at the KC Stadium on loan from Manchester United in July, but was forced out of the midweek defeat at Leeds due to the illness. Midfielder Tom Crainey is expected to return to Nigel Pearson's squad after missing out in midweek due to a groin strain.

Kagisho Dikgacoi is facing a spell on the sidelines after injuring his hamstring against Coventry on Tuesday night, and fellow midfielder Owen Garvan is also likely to miss out with a hip problem. Attacking midfielder Darren Ambrose missed out against the Sky Blues with a knee injury and remains doubtful along with striker Glenn Murray, who has been out for two games with an ankle knock. Veteran frontman Steffen Iversen is still missing with hamstring trouble, Nathaniel Clyne is out with a foot injury and fellow full-back Dean Moxey serves the final game of a four-match ban.

Nottingham Forest v Leicester City

Ishmael Miller is pushing for his full Nottingham Forest debut against East Midlands rivals Leicester as two former England managers go head-to-head at the City Ground. The £1.2 million signing from West Brom will hope he has done enough to force his way into McClaren's starting XI and could find himself partnering fellow new arrival Matt Derbyshire, who started at the Keepmoat Stadium. Midfielders Paul Anderson (groin) and Guy Moussi (calf) remain on the sidelines.

Darius Vassell's return from suspension should mean Leicester are at full strength. Vassell has completed a three-match ban for his red card during the opening-day win at Coventry and, after back-to-back home defeats in his absence, the striker could go straight back into the starting line-up. He will compete with teenager Jeffrey Schlupp, David Nugent, Steve Howard and Martyn Waghorn for a place in the side.

Reading v Barnsley

Reading boss Brian McDermott can call on the services of Welsh international Simon Church. Striker Church has trained all week after recovering from a thigh injury and may return to add some much-needed firepower to the side that has been missing since they lost last season's top scorer Shane Long to West Brom. Veteran full-back Andy Griffin suffered a hamstring injury during the 1-0 defeat to Portsmouth in midweek and is a doubt for the game. Shaun Cummings is very close to a return and could play if Griffin is ruled out while fellow defender Marcus Williams will again be absent because of injury.

Barnsley manager Keith Hill has concerns over the fitness of several unnamed players. Striker Ricardo Vaz Te missed Tuesday night's 3-1 defeat to Middlesbrough due to a slight muscle tear and is unlikely to be rushed back. Defender Stephen Foster and goalkeeper Luke Steele returned to the side in midweek in place of Jim McNulty and David Preece respectively, while Jim O'Brien stepped in for summer signing Craig Davies.

Southampton v Millwall

Leaders Southampton will be without Richard Chaplow, Radhi Jaidi and Lee Barnard when they host Millwall. Midfielder Chaplow is halfway through a three-match ban following his red card at Barnsley last weekend. Defender Jaidi (knee) and striker Barnard (ankle) are back in training but with Saints having won their first three matches, manager Nigel Adkins has no need to rush them back.

Dany N'Guessan has been ruled out of Millwall's trip to his former club Southampton. The on-loan Leicester striker, who made seven appearances for Saints during a spell on the south coast last season, is out for a fortnight with a hamstring injury. Darius Henderson will start in attack at St Mary's while boss Kenny Jackett must decide who plays alongside him.

SATURDAY 5.20pm

Peterborough United v Ipswich Town

New signing Ben Gordon could be in line for his Peterborough debut. Fellow defender Gabriel Zakuani will be assessed on Friday after missing the last two matches with a toe problem. Nicky Ajose will remain on the sidelines. Dave Hibbert and goalkeeper Joe Lewis are still recovering from knee injuries.

Paul Jewell will be pondering changes to his starting XI. The Town boss was furious after Tuesday's 5-2 home defeat to Southampton, especially with his side's defending after they found themselves three-nil down at the break. Lee Martin and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas both came on at half-time and made positive contributions, strengthening their claims to start at London Road while the likes of Nathan Ellington must also be in with a shout.

SUNDAY 1.15pm

West Ham v Leeds

West Ham will check on James Tomkins. The centre-half has a hamstring niggle. Striker John Carew could be added to the squad, a fortnight after joining on a free transfer, having played an hour for the reserves in midweek. Left-back George McCartney, who rejoined from Sunderland last week, was also involved as he builds up his match fitness. Jordan Brown and Gary O'Neil (both ankle) are still out.

Leeds skipper Jonny Howson and winger Max Gradel will both return to contention. Luciano Becchio (hamstring) and Billy Paynter (thigh) are not expected to return from injury at Upton Park and fellow striker Davide Somma (knee) remains a long-term absentee.

SUNDAY 3pm

Middlesbrough v Birmingham City

New signing Faris Haroun goes straight into the Middlesbrough squad. The Belgium international midfielder signed a three-year deal on Thursday and could get his first taste of English football at the Riverside Stadium. He will be joined in the squad by defender Tony McMahon, who is available after serving a one-game ban in midweek following his dismissal at Leeds.

Birmingham boss Chris Hughton will check on at least half a dozen members of his thin squad. Keith Fahey, Morgaro Gomis and Scott Dann missed the club's Europa League play-off first leg against CD Nacional in Portugal on Thursday night due to minor knocks, although midfielder Fahey was able to take his place on the bench. They added to the attacking trio of Cameron Jerome (heel), Marlon King (knee) and Nikola Zigic (groin), who failed to even fly out to Madeira and are yet to feature at all this season.

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