Team news: Hammond hope for Southampton
All the Championship team news ahead of a packed weekend of action with leaders Southampton hoping to recall Dean Hammond.
(All kick-off times 15:00 unless otherwise stated)
Barnsley v Coventry City
Barnsley's injury woes continued this week with midfielder David Perkins having sustained a hamstring strain in the draw at Derby. Midfielder Miles Addison could be in line for a recall as he has recovered from an ankle injury, while Nathan Doyle provides manager Keith Hill with an alternative option. Matt Done and Danny Haynes (both hamstring), Craig Davies (groin), midfielders Reuben Noble-Lazarus (ankle) andGoran Lovre (knee), plus defenders Rob Edwards (hamstring) and Luke Potter (knee) all remain sidelined.
Manager Andy Thorn has a host of players pushing for starting berths as Coventry travel to Barnsley. Midfielder Gary Deegan marked his return from a thigh injury with the equaliser against Blackpool, while striker Clive Platt was also introduced from the bench for the second game in succession and is now ready to be considered from the off. Gael Bigirimana is competing for a recall having been rested for the past two matches, while midfielder Carl Baker faces around four weeks on the sidelines due to ruptured ankle ligaments.
Blackpool v Bristol City
Blackpool could be without veteran defender Ian Evatt against Bristol City after he hobbled off the pitch with an ankle injury during the Seasiders' 2-2 draw with Coventry. The centre-back is likely to be replaced by Neal Eardley who came on against the Sky Blues. Midfielder Elliot Grandin (foot) was the only absentee against the Sky Blues and he looks set to miss out once more.
Goalkeeper Dean Gerken could make a return between the sticks at Blackpool. Cole Skuse is unlikely to travel to Bloomfield Road with the Robins, while Jamie McAllister still has a number of weeks on the sidelines as he recuperates from an ankle injury. Liam Fontaine (ankle) will not feature until after the international break although the defender has begun running work in training this week.
Crystal Palace v West Ham
Boss Dougie Freedman has no new injury concerns following Tuesday night's 3-1 derby win at Brighton but is still without left-back Lee Hills (knee) and midfield duo Kagisho Dikgacoi (hamstring) and Owen Garvan (hip). Freedman could name an unchanged side although midfielder Darren Ambrose is pushing for a place in the starting line-up after coming on as a substitute at the Amex Stadium and scoring Palace's crucial second goal.
West Ham will check on Joey O'Brien, Matt Taylor and Winston Reid ahead of the trip to Crystal Palace. But Allardyce has ruled out major changes despite their midweek setback. Striker Frederic Piquionne is back in contention after a three-match ban and recent signing Papa Bouba Diop is still awaiting his debut after joining as a free agent. Winger Gary O'Neil (ankle) is a long-term absentee.
Hull City v Cardiff City
Hull are expected to be unchanged against Cardiff as they look to extend their unbeaten run to six matches. Midfielder Paul McKenna is still struggling with the dead leg that kept him out on Tuesday night and Paul McShane remains unavailable despite appearing for the reserves this week. Skipper Andy Dawson (knee) is still out, as is winger Martin Pusic, although he edged closer to his league debut with a midweek run out for the reserves.
Cardiff will continue to work through their injury problems when they travel to Hull. The Bluebirds saw midfielder Craig Conway (ankle) and strikers Robert Earnshaw (thigh) and Rudy Gestede(hamstring) all pick up knocks during the goalless draw with Leicester on Sunday and none of the three figured in the 2-1 victory over Southampton in midweek. Centre-back Ben Turner and Dekel Keinan, however, returned to the bench after recovering from injury and are in contention for an appearance at the KC Stadium.
Ipswich Town v Brighton
Teenage defender Reece Wabara could make his debut for Ipswich against Brighton. The right-back has arrived from Manchester City on a 93-day loan and will battle it out with Carlos Edwards for the nod. On-loan striker Daryl Murphy remains a doubt while winger Lee Martin is now struggling with an eye complaint after overcoming a bout of tonsillitis and a three-match suspension. But midfielder Mark Kennedy is back in training after his calf injury.
Brighton will be without Lewis Dunk when they travel to Ipswich due to suspension. Gus Poyet will turn to Steve Cook or Romain Vincelot to fill in at centre-half with Tommy Elphick and Adam El-Abd still sidelined. Winger Will Buckley is the only other injury absentee with the hamstring problem he suffered against Liverpool.
Leeds United v Portsmouth
Leeds manager Simon Grayson will be considering his defensive options for the home clash with Portsmouth. Grayson has no new injury or suspension problems as his side chase a fourth successive home win, but after they he may bring in centre-half Patrick Kisnorbo, Andy O'Brien or Alex Bruce. Leading goalscorer Ross McCormack is likely to continue up front alongside Andy Keogh, who notched his first goal in his second spell at the club last week, but Luciano Becchio is pushing for a recall.
Strike duo Luke Varney and Dave Kitson will still be missing for Portsmouth when they head to Leeds through suspension and a rib injury, respectively. Defender Aaron Mokoena will be checked over after missing Tuesday night's defeat by Peterborough with a back problem. Benjani is expected to start in attack once more after scoring his first goal since returning to the club against Posh.
Leicester City v Derby County (17:20)
Jermaine Beckford, Richie Wellens and Michael Johnson are injury concerns for Leicester ahead of the visit of East Midlands rivals Derby. All three players were forced off during the second half of their goalless draw against Middlesbrough on Wednesday night. Beckford and Wellens have groin injuries while Johnson, who was making his first league start in over three years at the Riverside, is nursing a shoulder problem.
Derby will monitor Gareth Roberts ahead of the short trip to East Midlands rivals Leicester after the left-back was forced off with a shin injury after just 16 minutes of the 1-1 home draw against Barnsley in midweek. Should he not make it, Rams boss Nigel Clough could have a ready-made replacement available in the shape of Kevin Kilbane, who has missed Derby's last two Championship games with a hamstring problem but Clough is optimistic he will return.
Millwall v Burnley
Therry Racon and Tamika Mkandawire could return to the Millwall squad for the visit of Burnley. Racon, the summer signing from Charlton, has been out since suffering an ankle injury on his debut early last month and fellow midfielder Mkandawire missed the last three matches with a swollen knee. Boss Kenny Jackett has no new injury concerns following Tuesday night's defeat at Watford which dumped the Lions in the bottom three.
Burnley will once again hand late fitness tests to wingers Keith Treacy and Junior Stanislas when they travel to Millwall. The duo were both doubtful going into Tuesday's game with Nottingham Forest, but a hamstring injury did not prevent Stanislas from starting in the Clarets' 5-1 rout at Turf Moor. Treacy, a summer signing from neighbours Preston, has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain of his own.
Peterborough United v Doncaster Rovers
Gabby Zakuani will continue to play through the pain barrier for Peterborough when Doncaster visit London Road. The defender suffered a broken toe in a Carling Cup tie against Stevenage last month. Boss Darren Ferguson has Scott Wootton and Josh Thompson available as cover but has been anxious to keep Zakuani in the side and continues to assess the 25-year-old`s fitness on a match-by-match basis.
Pascal Chimbonda is set to make his Doncaster bow when they travel to Peterborough. The French defender, who was Dean Saunders' first signing since becoming Rovers manager, has been granted clearance to appear against Posh. Chris Brown, James Chambers, Martin Woods and Adam Lockwood are long-term absentees and will be unavailable for Saunders once more.
Reading v Middlesbrough
Reading's Jimmy Kebe remains a doubt for his side's league clash with Middlesbrough. The winger hobbled out of the clash with Doncaster on September 17 and has not featured for the Royals since, as he tries to get over a knee problem. Young forward Jordan Obita is the only other notable absentee for this weekend's game. Obita has pulled out of the England Under-19 squad due to injury and will not be fit to face Boro.
Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray will assess defender Rhys Williams ahead of Saturday's Championship trip to Reading. The Australia international started in the goalless draw with Leicester despite being ill during the day, and his condition will be monitored over the next 24 hours. Joe Bennett (knee) and Marvin Emnes (ankle) were also able to play against Sven-Goran Eriksson's men after winning their respective fitness battles.
Southampton v Watford
Dean Hammond could be restored to the Southampton starting line-up for the visit of Watford. Left-back Dan Harding will be assessed having missed the last five matches with a knee injury, while long-term absentees Radhi Jaidi and Lee Barnard are also close to returning. Centre-half Dan Seaborne is still out as he recovers from a head injury sustained during an assault outside a nightclub earlier this month.
Boss Sean Dyche is likely to stick with a winning line-up when he takes his Watford side to Championship leaders Southampton. Dyche has no major new injury problems to contend with ahead of the trip to St Mary's, where Saints are yet to drop any points so far this season. Midfielder Piero Mingoia has joined defender Lee Hodson (both knee) on the sidelines, although the pair are unlikely to have made the matchday 16 in any case.
Nottingham Forest v Birmingham City (Sunday)
Nottingham Forest manager Steve McClaren must decide whether to make changes for the visit of midlands rivals Birmingham or give those players that started the heavy midweek to Burnley a chance to redeem themselves. With Paul Anderson (hamstring), George Boateng (ankle), Garath McCleary, Chris Cohen and Dexter Blackstock (all knee) out injured, McClaren's options are limited should he wish to make changes. However, McGugan, Findley, Marcus Tudgay, Radoslaw Majewski and Brendan Moloney are available.
Birmingham could have defenders Curtis Davies and Stephen Carr back for the trip to Nottingham Forest. Boss Chris Hughton had feared the worst after Davies injured his knee and calf against Barnsley last Saturday but was relieved to learn the problem was not long term. Midfielder Keith Fahey and striker Nikola Zigic came through the Maribor match with no setbacks and Hughton reported no new issues following the European clash. Boaz Myhill will return in goal after Colin Doyle's appearance in Slovenia.