Injuries pepper the Premiership
LONDON: Brief news ahead of this weekend’s English Premier League matches.
Champions Manchester United are boosted by the return of defenders Gary Neville and Nemanja Vidic for the trip to Wigan Athletic today.
However, Rio Ferdinand (thigh), Edwin van der Sar (finger) and Rafael (shoulder) are all out.
Fulham will be without striker Andy Johnson for two months, starting with their west London derby at home to Chelsea tomorrow, after he dislocated his collarbone in the 3-1 Europa League win over Russian side Amkar Perm on Thursday.
“The opponent quite cold-bloodedly smashed into him. As a result he will be out for eight weeks,” manager Roy Hodgson said of the incident.
Arsenal’s Croatian striker Eduardo da Silva should be fit to face Portsmouth today after missing the Champions League playoff win over Celtic on Tuesday when he suffered a tight groin in the warm-up.
England winger Theo Walcott (back) is still not fit and joins Tomas Rosicky (hamstring), Samir Nasri (leg), Johan Djourou (knee) and Lukasz Fabianski (knee) on the injury list.
Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes will miss tomor- row’s London derby at West Ham United after sustaining a groin injury, manager Harry Redknapp told reporters yesterday.
Gomes was injured in the 5-1 victory at Hull City on Wednesday and was replaced by Carlo Cudicini. Ledley King should return to central defence after resting his knee in midweek.
Manchester City strikers Robinho (ankle) and Emmanuel Adebayor (groin) are expected to shake off injuries for the home match against Wolverhampton today.
Manager Mark Hughes said yesterday that Carlos Tevez was ready for 90 minutes after coming on as a substitute at Blackburn last weekend and impressing in the friendly against Barcelona on Wednesday.
Sunderland said French midfielder Steed Malbranque could be available for today’s home match against Blackburn Rovers after he missed Tuesday’s 3-1 home defeat by Chelsea with an ankle injury, but midfielder Lee Cattermole is struggling with a back problem and goalkeeper Marton Fulop has a sore heel.
Everton youngster Jack Rodwell could miss the trip to Burnley tomorrow after twisting his knee in Thursday’s Europa League victory over Sigma Olomouc in which he scored two great goals. Bafana Bafana stalwart Steven Pienaar also picked up a knock.
“Jack and Steven both came off with injuries and at this present time are in doubt for the weekend. Jack has a twisted knee and Steven got a kick on his foot,” Everton manager David Moyes told the club’s website.
Hull’s US striker Jozy Altidore is set to make his Premiership debut in today’s meeting with Bolton with the on-loan youngster from Spain’s Villarreal having missed the Tigers’ losses to Chelsea and Tottenham owing to red tape problems.
Craig Fagan is also in contention after recovering from a summer hernia operation, but midfielder Dean Marney is still out with a knee injury while Jimmy Bullard and Ian Ashbee are long-term casualties.
Having just stayed up in their first top-flight season, Hull are seeking to bounce back after their unlucky loss at Stamford Bridge and then a midweek home mauling by Spurs.
Nigeria captain Nwankwo Kanu is ready to commit himself to Portsmouth for the season.
The 33-year-old striker signed a one-month deal last week to enable him to start the Premier League campaign because his existing contract had expired.
“I didn’t sign it because we had some issues that we had to thrash out and the club wanted me to play,” said Kanu. “The only way I could play was to give me one month instead of one year, which I accepted.”
Shares in Birmingham soared 40 percent yesterday after Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung made a £81.5 million cash offer for the team.
Yeung’s Grandtop International Holdings, which already holds a 29.9 percent stake in Birmingham, said that the takeover would allow the club to “significantly increase its global fan base, promote and enhance its brand and develop new merchandising and related revenues.” – ReutersSapa-AFP