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Team News

Late Fitness Check | FPL Gameweek 29

by Ben Dinnery
Updated On: March 6, 2020, 8:54 pm ET

Normality returns in GW29 with a full slate of fixtures which includes a cheeky double for Manchester City and Arsenal.

Lots of major talking points in terms of injuries during the build-up, so make sure you keep following throughout for the latest news and developments ahead of the FPL deadline.

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Liverpool – vs – AFC Bournemouth

Jurgen Klopp confirms Alisson is out of the Bournemouth game after he sustained a hip injury in training earlier this week. "I would say after the international break he is back 100 per cent, whatever we can get before that we will see," reported Jurgen Klopp. Saturday will come too soon for Jordan Henderson, but the Liverpool skipper could return in the Champions League versus Atletico Madrid. Naby Keita is training and has a chance of featuring in the early kick-off, but Xherdan Shaqiri misses out again.

Lloyd Kelly (thigh) has trained with the squad, but after several setbacks, the summer signing will be managed. Arnaut Danjuma and Chris Mepham have not joined in yet, although they are making good progress. David Brooks is "building his fitness and endurance levels", and Eddie Howe is hopeful that the Welshman can be integrated into training quite quickly from this point. The Cherries boss will be looking to pick his "strongest team" despite the possibility of losing Jefferson Lerma to a two-match ban if he picks up another booking. No Harry Wilson due to the terms of his loan deal from Liverpool, a game which the gaffer describes as the "ultimate test".


Arsenal – vs – West Ham United

Kieran Tierney has completed two or three full sessions this week and will "hopefully" join the squad soon." Meanwhile, Pablo Marí came through Monday nights' encounter with Portsmouth in the cup without any problems, and Mikel Arteta believes the Spaniard is "ready to play" if needed. Lucas Torreira will meet with a specialist in London to help determine the extent of his injury after tests revealed he sustained a fractured ankle at Fratton Park; the setback is almost sure to end his season. Sead Kolasinac is targeting a return before the end of March after suffering a "significant strain" to the shoulder joint against Everton (GW27).

Tomas Soucek could make a surprise comeback at Arsenal after recovering from an adductor injury quicker than expected: "We're getting much closer to a full squad," confirmed David Moyes. "Tomas is doing very well, and he's just about match-fit, very close." Meanwhile, Andriy Yarmolenko is back with the group, but he won't be available as he's just started training.


Crystal Palace – vs – Watford

Roy Hodgson confirms the loss of Cenk Tosun to a serious knee injury: "It's a blow; he was finding his feet at the club and looking good as part of the squad. We have enormous sympathy for him and wish him well." The striker has returned to Everton and will have surgery next week. Everyone else is "fit and raring to go" which includes the likes of Mamadou Sakho, Jeffrey Schlupp and James McCarthy. James Tomkins took part in a light session on Friday with a view to stepping up his recovery from Monday.

Nigel Pearson admits that Gerard Deulofeu will be a miss following his season-ending injury: "He's been a match-winner and a very creative player; we have to make sure [that] when he does have his surgery, it's successful. At this point, I can't give an indication [on his absence]. Normally, you are looking at 5/6 months, something like that." Tests confirmed the winger ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and tore his meniscus; a typical return-to-play timeframe is around nine months which would see a comeback in December. Apart from Deulofeu, Daryl Janmaat, who is making really "good progress" following knee surgery, is the only other absentee with Pearson having close to a fully fit squad to choose from for the visit to Selhurst Park. Ismaïla Sarr had a "big impact" against the Champions elect last weekend, and following an injury-hampered campaign, the Senegal star will be looking to finish the season strongly. "His qualities give us something very, very different," Pearson said. "If we can keep him fit, it is obvious we have a real match-winner. He's still got things to learn, but his natural ability and his physical attributes mean he is a very modern-day player."


Sheffield United – vs – Norwich City

John Fleck and Enda Stevens have been passed fit for the Blades after they missed out in the FA Cup. "No risks [were taken] on Tuesday night and everyone will be fit and raring to go for Norwich," revealed Chris Wilder. United were also without Oliver Norwood for the fifth-round tie, but given that there has been no mention of a problem, then he omission could have been planned as he has started every Premier League game (27) this term and played more minutes (2292) than any other midfielder at the club. 

The Canaries injury situation is "much-improved" with Alex Tettey and Teemu Pukki recovering from the illness which hampered them midweek. Christoph Zimmermann trained on Thursday, and Daniel Farke will see how "his body reacts" before deciding, but there is a chance he could be involved. Timm Klose is working with the team, and his load will be gradually increased with a view to having the defender back after the next international break. Emiliano Buendia is fine despite being forced off with cramp in the FA Cup.


Southampton – vs – Newcastle United

The Saints "have a few [injury] problems" especially in the No.10 role with Stuart Armstrong joining Nathan Redmond in the treatment room. The Scotland international suffered a concussion after only two minutes at West Ham although he was able to complete the game: "Now he was out the whole week and couldn't train so far because he had symptoms. That means he has to take a break," said Ralph Hasenhüttl. Will Smallbone is also out because of illness, but Moussa Djenepo is back in contention after missing GW28 following the death of his mother. Danny Ings was limited to minutes from the bench at the London Stadium after injury disrupted his training during the build-up, but the clubs' leading marksman has worked without any problems ahead of Saturday: "It was good that we did rest him last week because the danger was too much." Redmond will "hopefully" be back after the Norwich game. "We have a long break, and in this break, he can maybe start training with the team."

Steve Bruce expects Allan Saint-Maximin to be "okay" following his exertions at West Brom on Tuesday. "I think that goes for [all the players involved]. Javier Manquillo was sore yesterday. We'll see how he is, but touch wood, we've got a clean bill of health as long as they come through [Fridays' session]." Andy Carroll is hoping to return before the international break, but there was no word on Emil Krafth - the remainder of the United treatment room is unchanged.


Wolverhampton Wanderers – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion

Adama Traoré (shoulder) has been passed fit for the visit of Brighton, but Wolves have "some issues" elsewhere heading into Saturdays' game. Morgan Gibbs-White is a concern after limping off for the Under-23s on Monday while Jonny (ankle) is not yet with the team. "He is getting better, but it will still take some time."

Graham Potter reports that the Seagulls have no fresh injury concerns: "José Izquierdo is our only absentee ahead of the weekend," he said during Thursdays' press conference. Shane Duffy is back in contention after missing the defeat to Crystal Palace due to a family bereavement. January signing Alexis Mac Allister is working with the squad, and given that Brighton are yet to win a league game in 2020, the South American can't be too far away from his first appearance: "We have to help him and make sure we introduce him at the right time to show his quality."


Burnley – vs – Tottenham Hotspur

Ashley Barnes has taken "another step forward" following his recent hernia operation, but the striker is not ready despite training with the squad this week. Johann Berg Gudmundsson is "not quite there" after suffering a slight setback - calf injury – while recovering from an ongoing hamstring issue. "It is minor but frustrating for him and us," said Sean Dyche. Matt Lowton is being "protected" and continues to work with the medical team as he manages inflammation which was caused by a clash of knees. "Hopefully, it is not going to turn into anything serious." Ben Gibson continues to train away from the club and will be unavailable until further notice.

Hugo Lloris has returned to full training and is in contention for Saturdays' trip to Turf Moor. The France international has missed Spurs' last two matches with a groin injury. Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko and Son Heung-Min are still sidelined. Ryan Sessegnon and Juan Foyth can be called upon if required while Erik Lamela and Tanguy Ndombele are fine following minutes in the cup.


Chelsea – vs – Everton

Frank Lampard reveals that Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Christian Pulisic featured in a behind-closed-doors game this week: "I just watched it, and they are trying to find match fitness." Tammy Abraham is targeting a return before the end of the month, but Callum Hudson-Odoi suffered a recurrence of his recent hamstring strain in training on Thursday which will keep him out until after the break. Mateo Kovacic is sidelined due to an Achilles injury, and Jorginho begins a two-match ban following his tenth caution of the campaign at Bournemouth. Willian faces a late fitness test.

Carlo Ancelotti confirms that Seamus Coleman (thigh) will be out for at least two games... However, the Republic of Ireland boss, Mick McCarthy, believes the injury is worse than the club are letting on, and the full-back might miss between 4-6 weeks. Lucas Digne is fit for the trip to Stamford Bridge.


Manchester United – vs – Manchester City

A decision on Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Dan James will be made closer to kick-off. "None of them have been training yet since the last game, so we've got to look at them on Saturday because [Friday] is a recovery day." Harry Maguire is rated as "touch and go" after rolling his ankle on the eve of the game with Derby County. Marcus Rashford is working well, and both the club and player are confident of a return before the end of the season: "The scans were encouraging. He's now working in the gym and in the pool, and he's moving around better. He's in and around the place." And Paul Pogba will begin training with the squad again from next week.

Pep says Kevin De Bruyne is "getting better". He will improve ahead of the derby, but the City boss wouldn't be drawn on whether he would be available for Sunday. Leroy Sané is making "big progress", although the winger is still not 100 per cent. "He has to be ready and fit," and there is no chance. "Every week, he is getting better. I will try to give him minutes [with the Under-23s] to get [him] back as soon as possible, but for this game, no." Aymeric Laporte is due to return in April.


Leicester City – vs – Aston Villa

Brendan Rodgers expressed concerns last weekend over Jamie Vardy's fitness after he suffered his third injury of the year: "We're hoping now that [we have] measures in place, behind the scenes, [that] can help him. [Jamie] being available for this last section of the league will be very, very important." The striker is "on track" to feature on Monday, but there are concerns over Ben Chilwell. "He'll be assessed over the coming days. It's a slight twinge of his hamstring."

Dean Smith says John McGinn is edging closer to a return. The Scotland international has been sidelined since December with a fractured ankle, but he could be in contention for game week 30. "We've not had him in [full] contact as yet, but he has been involved in possession sessions and some shape work as well. He's certainly getting to where we want him to be [and] he feels really good which is the important thing. He will be pushing me for Chelsea, that's for sure."