Team news: Johnson boosts Owls
Reda Johnson could return to the Sheffield Wednesday defence in time for their visit to Chesterfield in League One.
CHESTERFIELD v SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY
Chesterfield will check on the fitness of James Hurst ahead of the visit of local rivals Sheffield Wednesday. Hurst missed the 1-1 draw at Bury in midweek with an ankle knock and the on-loan West Brom defender will continue to be monitored ahead of the Saturday lunchtime kick-off. Mark Allott had not sufficiently recovered from a thigh problem to be considered on Tuesday night but the experienced midfielder is expected to be available against the Owls. French midfielder Jimmy Juan is progressing well as he bids to overcome a calf injury but this game is likely to come too soon for him. The match is at the B2net Stadium and chief executive Chris Turner said: "We can expect a cracking atmosphere for the first visit by the Owls to our new stadium. We hope that everyone has an enjoyable afternoon for what will be our biggest crowd of the season."
Sheffield Wednesday defender Reda Johnson is expected to return to the starting line-up at Chesterfield following suspension. Johnson missed the Owls' back-to-back defeats last week due to a two-game ban, but is likely to slot in at left-back with Lewis Buxton switching to the right and Jon Otsemobor possibly dropping to the bench. Midfielder John Bostock, on loan from Tottenham, missed the midweek home defeat to Stevenage through illness and remains doubtful, as does striker Ryan Lowe, who is struggling to shake off a bruised calf. Central defender Miguel Llera missed out on Tuesday night due to a nasty cut above his eye that required stitches and he too is 50/50. Manager Gary Megson has no other new injury or suspension problems as Wednesday, two points behind second-placed Sheffield United having played two games more, look to get their promotion challenge back on track.
MK DONS v OLDHAM ATHLETIC
Alan Smith and Jabo Ibehre are doubts for MK Dons ahead of the visit of Oldham. Smith is nursing an ankle knock following the defeat at npower League One leaders Charlton on Tuesday night and the on-loan Newcastle midfielder will undergo a late fitness test. Striker Ibehre has sustained a hamstring injury and he will also be assessed. However, one player who will definitely miss out is defender Gary MacKenzie. The Scottish centre-half was sent off for the second time this season against Charlton for violent conduct after pushing his head towards that of Addicks strikerYann Kermorgant. MacKenzie will begin a four-match suspension, with Mathias Doumbe likely to get the nod to replace him at the heart of the back four.
Oldham will once again be without captain Dean Furman for the trip to MK Dons. Furman has been absent from the Latics midfield for the previous four matches with a knee complaint and hopes to resume training next week after receiving a painkilling injection in the troublesome joint on Wednesday. James Wesolowski finally underwent a shoulder operation earlier this week having suffered from dislocations throughout the season, meaning boss Paul Dickov is short of options in the centre of the park. Chris Taylor reverted from his usual wide role to fill in during the 2-1 midweek victory over Walsall, while left winger Keanu Marsh Brown impressed on his full debut. Both are expected to retain their positions at the weekend. Centre-back Zander Diamond returns to the squad after suffering a hip injury against Chesterfield last month, while long-term thigh injury victim Reuben Reid is set to return to full training next week.
SHEFFIELD UNITED v PRESTON NORTH END
Sheffield United striker James Beattie will return to contention following suspension for the home game against Preston. Beattie's availability after a three-game ban will add more competition for places up front as recent signing Will Hoskins is also pushing for his first start for the club. Leading goalscorer Ched Evans is expected to continue, while manager Danny Wilson also has Richard Cresswell, Chris Porter and Danny Philliskirk at his disposal. Midfielder Lee Williamson missed the midweek win at Huddersfield due to a calf problem and remains doubtful. If Williamson fails to make it, Ryan Flynn will continue in midfield, with the fine form of Kevin McDonald and central midfield partner Michael Doyle keeping Nick Montgomery on the bench. The Blades, two points better off than third-placed Sheffield Wednesday with two games in hand, have won 10 of their last 12 league matches.
Preston's midweek matchwinner Danny Mayor is pushing for a start when Graham Westley's side travel to high-flyingSheffield United. The 21-year-old winger came off the bench to notch the only goal of the game from 25-yards against Hartlepool, giving Westley his first victory in the Deepdale hotseat. Elsewhere in midfield, Paul Coutts serves the second game of a two-match ban for collecting his 10th yellow card of the season in the defeat at Yeovil in January. Iain Hume returned to action in the 2-1 reserve win over Tranmere on Wednesday following a lengthy lay-off with a hamstring injury, although it is unclear whether the Canadian forward is ready to resume first-team duties at this stage. Craig Morgan is back from a one-match ban to bolster Westley's options at the heart of defence, while full-back Jamie McAllister is due to play the last game of his loan spell from Bristol City. Striker Neil Mellor (knee) remains a long-term injury victim.
EXETER CITY v BURY
Exeter are sweating on the fitness of full-back Steve Tully for the clash with Bury. Tully was withdrawn during the 2-1 defeat to Notts County on Tuesday night with a hand injury which he originally sustained in the victory over Sheffield Wednesday in the Grecians' previous match at St James Park. Otherwise, manager Paul Tisdale has a fully-fit and suspension-free squad at his disposal. Tisdale told the club's official website: "At this stage we have a doubt over Steve Tully with a very sore hand. He broke it against Sheffield Wednesday and he is having a specialist opinion about whether he can play with it. Although we have bumps and bruises we are otherwise ready to go."
Ryan Doble is an injury doubt for Bury ahead of the trip to Exeter. Striker Doble, whose loan spell from Southampton expires after the weekend, suffered a hamstring injury during the 1-1 midweek draw with Chesterfield. The club are awaiting the result of a scan before deciding whether the 21-year-old is fit to take part at St James Park. Ashley Eastham played no part against the Spireites on Tuesday due to illness and the on-loan Blackpool defender may miss out again. Boss Richie Barker has no other significant injury worries, although he admits disruption to his squad's training routine during the recent cold snap has not made life easy for those nursing niggling bumps and bruises. "I'm getting sick of Astroturf and I'm sure the players are," he told the Manchester Evening News. "We're starting to get a few sore knees and sore backs understandably."
HARTLEPOOL UNITED v NOTTS COUNTY
Hartlepool manager Neale Cooper will pick his starting line-up for the home game with Notts County from an unchanged squad for the fourth game running. Cooper has no new injury or suspension worries and is expected start with the same line-up that kicked-off at Preston in midweek. Defender Steve Haslam and forward Colin Nish stepped off the substitutes' bench on Tuesday night and are both pushing for a place in the starting line-up. James Poole is still sidelined with a troublesome hamstring despite the aid of an injection last week and fellow striker Colin Larkin (knee) remains a long-term absentee. The 1-0 midweek defeat at Preston was Pools' first in six league matches and Cooper's side currently lie 10 points adrift of the play-offs with 16 games to play.
Notts County are keeping an eye on midfield duo Alan Judge and Neal Bishop ahead of the trip to Hartlepool. Judge and captain Bishop played against Exeter on Tuesday night despite carrying injuries, with Judge replaced eight minutes from the end. Both men are being assessed and a late decision will be made on their fitness. Should either player miss out, Hamza Bencherif, who came on for Judge in midweek, Ishmel Demontagnac andCristian Montano would come into contention to start. Manager Martin Allen has other options should he wish to make changes. Defenders Alan Sheehan, Krystian Pearce and Sam Sodje and striker Jonathan Forte are all available for recalls. Defender Stephen Hunt (ankle) and goalkeeper Rob Burch (knee) remained sidelined.
ROCHDALE v BOURNEMOUTH
Michael Symes' stop-start introduction to life at Rochdale will stall once more when Bournemouth visit Spotland. Symes joined Dale on loan from the Cherries before the end of the January transfer window but the cold snap prevented him from making his debut until Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat against fellow npower League One strugglers Scunthorpe. The striker will be restricted to a watching brief this weekend as he is ineligible to face his parent club. West Ham loanee Paul McCallum could be in line to make his first appearance for John Coleman's side after the 18-year-old failed to make the matchday 16 at Glanford Park. Coleman has no new injury worries as midfielder Simon Hackney remains a long-term absentee with an abdominal problem.
Wes Fogden is available to Bournemouth manager Lee Bradbury for the npower League One trip to Rochdale. Fogden suffered an ankle injury during the 1-0 defeat at Chesterfield on January 27 and has missed the Cherries' last three outings. However, the midfielder could now feature at Spotland as Bournemouth look to bounce back from their midweek defeat to Leyton Orient. Otherwise, Bradbury will be without captain Adam Barrett, who has been ruled out with a hamstring problem, while Mathieu Baudry (hamstring), Joe Partington, Shaun Cooper, Mark Molesley and Nathan Byrne (ankle) are still short of match fitness. Striker Charlie Sheringham will miss the rest of the season with a foot injury, while goalkeeper Shwan Jalal has been sidelined after undergoing a routine back operation.
LEYTON ORIENT v SCUNTHORPE
Leyton Orient could be boosted by the return of David Mooney for the clash with Scunthorpe. The striker has been struggling with a thigh problem recently and, after failing a late fitness check ahead of Tuesday's game against Bournemouth, may recover in time to face the Iron. Cardiff loanee Solomon Taiwo was only fit enough to make the bench against the Cherries after a groin injury, but may be ready to return to manager Russell Slade's midfield. Striker Jonathan Tehoue made his first League start of the season at Dean Court and should keep his place in the side, while goalkeeper Jamie Jones has recovered from a shoulder operation and faces a battle with Lee Butcher for the number one jersey. Ryan Dickson, who joined the club from Southampton on loan for the rest of the season, impressed at left-back on his debut and is likely to retain his position.
Scunthorpe skipper Cliff Byrne and midfielder Damian Mozika are hoping to make the starting line-up at Leyton Orient. Right-back Byrne, who has made only two appearances all season due to persistent groin trouble, was an unused substitute in the midweek win over Rochdale, while Mozika made his first appearance off the bench since mid-October after recovering from a long-term ankle problem. Leading goalscorer Bobby Grant was also an unused substitute on Tuesday night along with fellow striker Jordan Robertson, who has recently recovered from a hip injury. Manager Alan Knill has several selection dilemmas for the first time this season following the recent arrival of three new signings, striker Jon Parkin and defenders David Mirfin and Jamie Reckford, who all made their full debuts against Rochdale. Jimmy Ryan is closing in on his return following a knee injury, but is not yet ready, while another midfielder, Michael Collins (Achilles), plus strikers Connor Jennings (foot) and Matt Godden (hip) remain sidelined.
WALSALL v WYCOMBE WANDERERS
Walsall goalkeeper Jimmy Walker and striker Jon Macken face late fitness tests ahead of the vital visit of relegation rivals Wycombe. The duo missed Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Oldham with hamstring injuries but returned to light training on Thursday ahead of a full session on Friday. However, the game may come too soon for the pair, who face an uphill battle to prove their match fitness in time, while manager Dean Smith will not want to take any risks. Defender Daryl Westlake, who has been on the fringes of late, has also been ruled out of action for around a week with an ankle injury. The Saddlers head into the clash one point and one place below Wycombe, who occupy the final relegation berth, knowing only victory will provide a genuine boost to their survival hopes.
Wycombe have no new problems as they prepare to travel to Walsall. Long-term absentees Scott Donnelly and John Halls aside, manager Gary Waddock has a fully-fit squad to choose from. Changes could be on the cards following the disappointing home defeat to relegation rivals Yeovil on Tuesday night. Defender Danny Foster, midfielders Joel Grant and Stuart Lewis and strikers Ben Strevens and Matt McClure are amongst the options available to Waddock. Wycombe were booed off the pitch in midweek and Waddock subjected to chants of `you don't know what you're doing'. But the Wanderers boss insists it will not affect him. "The supporters are frustrated and have their opinions, I understand that totally. They have got every right to say what they want to say and if it is directed at me then I have to deal with that," said Waddock. "I have experienced it before. It is part and parcel of the job. You have to get on with it and just focus on the job."
TRANMERE ROVERS v CHARLTON ATHLETIC
Veteran defender Ian Goodison is an injury doubt as Tranmere prepare to host npower League One leaders Charlton. Goodison hobbled out of Tuesday night's goalless draw at Carlisle after taking a blow to the shin and Rovers manager Les Parry is not overly confident he will make the game. "He got a kick on his calf and it was gradually getting worse and worse so that's why he came off," Parry told Tranmere Player. "With a bit of luck he will be okay, but at the moment I don't think he's too optimistic." Forward duo Enoch Showunmi and Andy Robinson returned from respective leg and knee injuries to feature in a strong reserve line-up against Preston in midweek, but neither player is expected to be risked further at the weekend. Mustafa Tiryaki also turned out in the 2-1 defeat to the Lilywhites' second string and will contest a place in attack against the Addicks, with Adam McGurk and Stoke loanee Ryan Brunt having started up front at Brunton Park. Defenders David Raven (groin) and Zoumana Bakayogo (shin) remain on the sidelines, while midfielder James Wallace will play the last game of his one-month loan spell from Everton.
Charlton welcome back Darel Russell for the trip to Tranmere. The midfielder's three-match ban was delayed due to the bad weather, but Tuesday's game against MK Dons saw him complete his suspension and is now available at manager Chris Powell's disposal. Powell has concerns over in-form captain Johnnie Jackson, who was replaced by Danny Haynes just after the hour mark against the Dons and may be struggling to make the trip to Merseyside. Striker Bradley Wright-Phillips returned to the side in the win over Karl Robinson's men but, having failed to find the net since November 19, may be sacrificed in favour of Haynes or Leon Clarke. Dale Stephens has felt no recurrence of a hamstring injury during his two games back in the Addicks side and should retain his place.
YEOVIL v COLCHESTER UNITED
Yeovil will continue to be without suspended captain Paul Huntington for their npower League One clash with Colchester at Huish Park. Huntington serves the third match of a four-game ban for the visit of the U's, and recent signing Richard Hinds is set to continue to fill in for the Glovers skipper in the heart of defence. Manager Gary Johnson will be unable to call on full-back Joe Edwards, who has returned to his parent club Bristol Cityfor the time being because of injury, but otherwise Yeovil have a full bill of fitness as they look to build on the 3-2 win at Wycombe in midweek. On-loan Reading midfielder Lawson D'Ath will be hoping to keep his place in Johnson's starting XI after making his full debut for the Somerset side at Adams Park.
Freddie Sears will go straight into the Colchester squad for the trip to Yeovil, subject to paperwork clearance, after joining on loan from West Ham. Steven Gillespie is likely to have played his way into the starting line-up. The striker scored the U's only goals in their games at Scunthorpe and Chesterfield only to be dropped for the 1-0 win at Leyton Orient prior to the recent cold snap. Gillespie was again named among the substitutes for Tuesday's clash with Brentford but responded in the best way possible by stepping off the bench to bag a late brace and clinch a 2-1 triumph, staking his obvious claim for a recall. Elsewhere, manager John Ward is not expected to have any new injury or suspension problems. Winger Ashley Vincent (hamstring) and defender Matt Heath (groin) continue to increase their fitness work and push for a place in United's matchday squad having both returned to full training. On-loan forward Gavin Massey has been recalled by parent club Watford and will not get the chance to line up against the Glovers, with whom he spent the first half of the season and duly bagged a brace in a 2-2 draw with Colchester in October's reverse fixture.