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Team news: Connell fit for Swindon

Team news: Connell fit for Swindon

By PA Sport
Last update The 17/02/2012 at 16:51 -
By PA Sport - The 17/02/2012 at 16:51
Swindon striker Alan Connell is available for manager Paolo Di Canio after recovering from injury before the trip to Hereford United.
 

HEREFORD UNITED v SWINDON TOWN

Michael Townsend's suspension provides a defensive headache for Hereford boss Jamie Pitman ahead of the visit of high-flying Swindon. Townsend was given his marching orders during the second half of Tuesday's abject 1-0 defeat at Aldershot and now starts a two-match ban, which also includes next Saturday's trip to Bradford. Benoit Dalibard (hamstring) and Joe Heath (groin) remain sidelined, while centre-back Stefan Stam could provide welcome relief if he is judged fit to return from ongoing knee problems. Striker Delroy Facey will be assessed having missed out in midweek with a chest infection, while midfielder Harry Pell (knee) remains a major doubt. Pitman made a total of four changes at the Recreation Ground which he admitted afterwards did not work, insisting the Bulls "will get annihilated" by Swindon if they perform as badly this weekend. That paves the way for possible recalls for the likes of Nicky Featherstone, James McQuilkin and Joe Colbeck.

Alan Connell is fit and available for Swindon ahead of the trip to Hereford. The striker missed the 3-0 victory over Crawley in midweek with a slight hamstring injury but has since shrugged off the niggle and is now in contention for a place in manager Paolo Di Canio's matchday squad. The frontman will have to displace either Paul Benson or Billy Bodin, both of whom scored in the comfortable win over the Red Devils on Tuesday, if he is to earn himself a spot in the starting line-up. Meanwhile, Di Canio will continue to be without centre-back Aden Flint. Flint had been ruled out for the rest of the season with a groin problem, but a second opinion from a specialist suggested the defender may return for the Robins within six weeks. However, the clash with the Bulls comes far too soon for the imposing centre-half.

BURTON ALBION v ROTHERHAM UNITED

Leading scorer Billy Kee should be back in Burton's starting line-up for the visit of Rotherham. Kee has been plagued by groin problems since November and has not played since January 2. He was expected to return to the side against Crewe in midweek but boss Paul Peschisolido opted to leave the 12-goal striker out of the squad. Peschisolido is confident that Albion have got to the root of the problem but wants to make sure Kee is 100% before throwing him back into action. "I'd rather have a fully-fit Billy than a 75%-fit Billy. I'm confident that he will be fully fit for Saturday," said Peschisolido, who may spring a surprise and include new signing Chris Riggott in the squad. Riggott has been training with Burton after an injury-hit second spell with Derby and the 31-year-old defender has agreed a short-term deal at the Pirelli Stadium. "Chris has not played competitively for some time. I think he thinks he is okay to play, but we don't want to rush him back into action and then he gets injured. We may try and ease him in gently or we may throw him in, we'll see," said Peschisolido, who will again be without on-loan Swansea midfielder Lee Lucas (hamstring) and the versatile Aaron Webster (hamstring).

Rotherham manager Andy Scott is hoping to name the same team for the third successive game at Burton. The Millers have won their last two matches, against Southend and Accrington, and Scott will be hoping his squad can overcome some "bumps and bruises" in order for him to keep the faith. On-loan Shaun Harrad has hit it off with Alex Revell in attack, scoring three goals between them in the two games they have played together, so 15-goal top scorer Lewis Grabban will remain on the bench. Forward Gareth Evans, who has been out of the last four games, is no nearer a return following steroid injections into his back earlier this week. Luke Foster and Jamie Annerson (both knee) continue to occupy the treatment room as the Millers head to the Pirelli Stadium looking to close the gap on the play-off places.

MACCLESFIELD TOWN v ALDERSHOT TOWN

Nat Brown is set to return to Macclesfield's defence against Aldershot having completed a truncated three-match ban. Brown received a straight red card in the Silkmen's defeat to Swindon last month and the subsequent clutch of postponements during the recent cold snap have forced him onto the sidelines for a longer period than expected. The centre-back is set to replace Shaun Brisley, who played his final game for Town against Morecambe on Tuesday night before moving, initially on loan, to Peterborough. George Donnelly, Ben Tomlinson and Sam Wedgbury all returned from injury lay-offs in the 1-0 loss to the Shrimps and will be available once more having suffered no reaction to respective calf, thigh and hernia problems. Lewis Chalmers is another hernia victim and remains on the sidelines with fellow midfielders Ross Draper (broken metatarsal) and Dwayne Mattis.

Aldershot manager Dean Holdsworth is likely to stick with an unchanged line-up for the trip to Macclesfield. Holdsworth handed a midweek debut to on-loan midfielder Darren Murphy as his side recorded their first home victory since mid-December, completing back-to-back wins for the first time since the start of November. Ben Smith and Wilko Risser were also named on the bench following their recent arrivals, while striker Reece Connolly appeared as a second-half substitute for what was only his first cameo of the campaign. And Holdsworth, with no new injury or suspension problems, is unlikely to tinker with a winning line-up at the Moss Rose as he looks to make it nine points from a possible nine. Midfielder Alex Rodman (pulmonary embolism) and striker Michael Rankine (leg) have been ruled out for the rest of the season.

SOUTHEND UNITED v CREWE ALEXANDRA

David Martin faces a late fitness test ahead of Southend's home clash against Crewe. The wide man left Priestfield on Monday on crutches due to a foot injury picked up during the second half of the 2-1 win over Gillingham, a victory which ended a four-match winless run and sent Paul Sturrock's side back to the top of League Two. Martin now faces a race against time to be fit to face the Alex. Sturrock will not want to make any further changes to a winning XI having stuck to his pre-match promise on Monday by freshening up his stuttering side. Martin was one of four players handed a recall along with fit-again centre-back Mark Phillips, fellow defender Luke Prosser and midfielder Kane Ferdinand. Ryan Leonard, Barry Corr, Harry Crawford (all knee) and Lee Sawyer (thigh) remain missing.

Crewe are set to welcome back winger Lee Bell and skipper David Artell for the trip to Southend. Bell has been absent in recent weeks with a hernia problem but came through a reserve-team outing in midweek and has been declared fit to face the Shrimpers. Artell returns after serving a one-match ban for his sending-off in the defeat to Barnet, but fellow centre-back Adam Dugdale still has two games of three to serve having been dismissed during the same encounter. Winger Byron Moore is struggling with an ankle injury, while striker Ajay Leitch-Smith remains on the sidelines with a similar complaint. Danny Shelley and Nick Powell both suffered bruising during Tuesday night's win over Burton but are fit to face the Shrimpers. On-loan Burton striker Greg Pearson is expected to come back into boss Steve Davis' starting line-up having been ineligible against his parent club.

BRISTOL ROVERS v OXFORD UNITED

Mark McGhee will be without defenders Gary Sawyer and Aaron Downes as he looks to bounce back from his first defeat as Bristol Rovers manager with victory against Oxford in npower League Two. Rovers slipped up 1-0 at Shrewsbury on Tuesday, ending McGhee's 100 per cent record since taking over at the Memorial Stadium last month, and the Rovers boss will have to contend with the absence of Sawyer and Downes. Sawyer is set to spend three weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring problem, while on-loan Downes has been ruled out of action for as long as another five weeks after suffering knee cartilage damage during the 2-1 victory over Bradford on January 28. Adam Virgo (knee) and Wayne Brown (ankle) remain long-term casualties.

Oxford will be without several first-team regulars for their trip to Bristol Rovers. Striker Jon-Paul Pittman has been ruled out with a hamstring injury, while veteran defender Tony Capaldi's knee and back troubles have kept him from making his U's debut since arriving from Morecambe in the summer. Forward Tom Craddock is also struggling with a knee complaint which is set to sideline him for up to a month and midfielder Alfie Potter is out for the season after breaking an ankle in training. Oxford manager Chris Wilder could hand a first start to on-loan Swindon frontman Mehdi Kerrouche alongside James Constable, while defender Damien Batt is available once again after serving a two-game suspension. However, midfielder Simon Heslop is a doubt after missing the midweek victory over Dagenham with a heel injury.

AFC WIMBLEDON v MORECAMBE

AFC Wimbledon boss Terry Brown has injury problems for the visit of Morecambe. Brown is waiting on the fitness of four players before finalising his squad. On-loan Charlton forward Jason Euell returned to the squad for Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Northampton but is nursing an ankle problem, while midfielder Ricky Wellard is a doubt with the same problem. Striker Luke Moore is touch-and-go to be passed fit due to a knee injury and midfielder Billy Knott is another Dons player that is troubled by an ankle problem. Brown has received a further blow with the news that forward Jason Prior and defender Gareth Gwillim are both absent with knee and hamstring problems respectively. However, Wimbledon are boosted by the return to fitness of defender Fraser Franks, who is ready to play after a heel complaint.

Goalkeeper Barry Roche is set to return between the posts when Morecambe travel to AFC Wimbledon. A back injury has sidelined Roche for the Shrimps' previous two matches, with on-loan Blackpool youngster Chris Kettings deputising in the 2-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers last weekend and Tuesday's 1-0 win over Macclesfield. Jordan Burrow made his full debut in attack against the Silkmen and the 19-year-old is well placed to retain his spot. Defender Andy Parrish is available once again having missed the past two games due to illness, while winger Izak Reid (hernia) remains sidelined. Victory over the Dons would provide back-to-back triumphs for the first time since August, something Morecambe boss Jim Bentley feels is within his side's reach. "Wimbledon is going to be tough," he told the Lancashire Evening Post. "They have come up from the Conference and have a winning mentality, but it's certainly a winnable game from our point of view."

PORT VALE v GILLINGHAM

Port Vale's injury problems have worsened ahead of the visit of Gillingham. Adam Yates faces up to two months out with a knee injury after scans revealed the defender suffered ligament damage during the draw at Bradford in midweek. Tom Pope has been nursing a groin problem recently but he has finally succumbed and the striker will undergo surgery on Friday that will rule him out for around a month. With Yates sidelined and the versatile Lee Collins (ankle) still not fit, manager Micky Adams may be forced to play Anthony Griffith at the back. "Anthony played there when I first came to the club. While we don't want to lose his energy in midfield, we might have to put him back there," said Adams. Rob Taylor is making slow progress in his recovery from an Achilles injury and is a major doubt for Saturday, while fellow midfielders Ryan Burge (knee) and Lewis Haldane (broken leg) remain out.

Captain Andy Frampton will play no part in Gillingham's trip to Port Vale having been ruled out for up to six weeks. The centre-back was forced off nursing an ankle injury in the second half of Monday's 2-1 home defeat to Southend and has now been sidelined for the foreseeable future. Either fit-again Simon King or youngster Connor Essam are likely to step in. Manager Andy Hessenthaler has promised to freshen up his his side this weekend after Monday's reverse consigned the Kent club to a fifth straight defeat. Midfielder Jack Payne and right-back Jack Evans were introduced from the bench at half-time against the Shrimpers and performed admirably, putting themselves in the frame to start. Goalkeeper Ross Flitney (knee) continues to miss out along with defenders Charlie Lee (knee) and Matt Fish (ankle).

BARNET v SHREWSBURY

Barnet are once again without suspended Charlie Taylor for the game against Shrewsbury. The striker serves the second match of a three-game ban following his sending off 12 minutes after coming on as a substitute towards the end of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy defeat by Swindon. Michael Hector missed Tuesday's goalless draw with Plymouth through injury and is a doubt to take part on Saturday, with fellow loanee Sead Hajrovic set to take his place if the defender fails to be passed fit. On-loan Reading midfielder Jordan Obita should keep his position after replacing Mark Byrne against Argyle. The Bees are without defender Danny Senda and striker Steve Kabba, who both have knee injuries, while winger Mark Marshall is unavailable following his suspension for testing positive for a banned substance.

Shrewsbury boss Graham Turner is close to a full-strength squad as he decides whether to include Shane Cansdell-Sherriff or Marvin Morgan in his starting XI at Barnet. First-choice centre-back Cansdell-Sherriff returned to the bench on Tuesday night for the late 1-0 victory over Bristol Rovers after over three weeks on the sidelines with a shoulder injury. Striker Morgan, meanwhile, completed his three-match ban with the passing of the midweek clash, and both now leave Turner with a dilemma as to whether to change a winning line-up. Defender Connor Goldson (back) has now resumed full training while long-term absentee Reuben Hazell (knee) is also close to being declared fully fit. Sixth-placed Shrews are just two points off league leaders Southend amid one of the tightest promotion battles from npower League Two in years.

ACCRINGTON v PLYMOUTH ARGYLE

Ian Craney is back in contention to start when Paul Cook takes charge of Accrington for the first time against Plymouth. Craney was left out as a precaution for Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat at Rotherham after complaining of discomfort just weeks after returning from a broken ankle. Defender Sean Hessey has not trained all week as he continues to struggle with a hamstring problem but otherwise Cook has a full squad to choose from in what he believes will be a stern test for his new side at the Crown Ground. "It's a very tough challenge," he said. "They are fighting for their lives and teams that are fighting for their lives don't lie down and die. They will come here and they will want to get three points. It's important that we are organised and we do what we can do to affect the game."

Plymouth should be able to call on Joe Lennox for their trip to Accrington. The midfielder missed the Pilgrims' goalless draw with Barnet on Tuesday night because of illness but is expected to return to contention for a place in the matchday squad at the Crown Ground. Argyle manager Carl Fletcher is likely to be without Warren Feeney, however, as the forward is struggling with a calf problem. After putting in a man-of-the-match display on his full debut in midweek, on-loan striker Alex MacDonald will be hoping to keep his in the wake of pressure from Juvhel Tsoumou and Craig Sutherland. Simon Walton dropped to the bench to be replaced by Conor Hourihane in midfield against Barnet but he is likely to return to the starting line-up.

TORQUAY v BRADFORD CITY

Torquay are likely to be without Damon Lathrope for the visit of Bradford. Midfielder Lathrope picked up an ankle injury blocking a shot during the 1-0 victory at Cheltenham in midweek and is a major doubt for Gulls manager Martin Ling this weekend. Chris McPhee is set to replace the 22-year-old in the middle of the park, but otherwise Ling has no injury or suspension worries as he looks to lead his side to their eighth successive league victory. Rene Howe will be hoping to win back his place up front from Taiwo Atieno, while defender Angus McDonald is still waiting for his debut after signing on loan from Reading until the end of the season. McDonald has been an unused substitute in each of Torquay's last two matches.

Bradford striker James Hanson is doubtful for the clash at Torquay after sustaining a groin injury in midweek. Hanson was forced out of the midweek home draw with Port Vale and if he fails to make it manager Phil Parkinson must choose two from Ross Hannah, Nahki Wells and Deane Smalley to start up front. But Parkinson will be boosted by the return of club skipper Simon Ramsden, who stepped off the substitutes' bench in midweek after being sidelined since New Year's Eve with a broken toe. Another long-term absentee, midfielder Michael Flynn, could make his first appearance of the year. He was named as an unused substitute against Vale after being ruled out since mid-December with gastroenteritis. Luke Oliver returned to the side on Tuesday night after a hamstring injury and should continue in central defence. Bradford, just four points above the relegation zone, have won just once away in the league this season and have lost their last three on the road.

DAGENHAM & REDBRIDGE v CHELTENHAM TOWN

Brian Woodall is back in contention for Dagenham's home clash against high-flying Cheltenham. The five-goal striker missed Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Oxford having picked up a knock in training 24 hours earlier but should be fit enough to stake his claim for a starting berth. Midfielder Medy Elito impressed off the bench as a second-half replacement for Dominic Green and may have played his way into John Still's starting XI. Still has no new injury or suspension concerns to contend with, although fit-again midfielder Luke Howell remains unavailable until he gets vital minutes under his belt for the club's second string having made his comeback from a long-term knee injury. Peter Gain (knee), Kevin Maher (foot) and Sam Williams (knee) continue to miss out. The Daggers have failed to triumph against Cheltenham in all four past meetings between the two sides, losing three and drawing one.

Steve Elliott could return for Cheltenham in their clash at Dagenham. The experienced centre-back has missed the Robins' last six matches with a calf strain but returned to training on Thursday and is expected to be a part of manager Mark Yates' matchday squad at Victoria Road. Midfielder Russ Penn is also available to Yates after getting the all-clear on a hamstring injury following a scan and is likely to be included in some capacity against the Daggers. That leaves Yates with a fully-fit and injury-free squad at his disposal as Cheltenham look to get back to winning ways following their 1-0 home defeat to Torquay on Tuesday night. Victory for the Robins at Dagenham could send them back to the top of the table, provided results elsewhere go in their favour.

 
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