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Team News

Late Fitness Check GW36

by Ben Dinnery
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

While the title race may be over, the bottom sides have it all to play for as the relegation dogfight begins to hot up.

 

The Baggies recent upturn in form comes a little too late but with four games remaining, Southampton stand a chance of climbing out of the drop zone, although anything less than three-points and we’re moving into Hail Mary territory with Manchester City still to play on the final day. Charlie Austin is in line to make his second Premier League start of the year following his recovery from a serious hamstring injury.  

 

If results go against Stoke, their fate could be sealed, so Paul Lambert is hoping Jurgen Klopp will rest some of his big guns with a Champions League second-leg tie in Italy next week.

 

Huddersfield are treading water, and even though they have 12-points to play for, it does include Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal meaning the Terriers need something from Everton. Swansea looked to be safe but have been dragged back into the mire and a point against Chelsea would do nicely especially given their injury problems in defence.

 

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Liverpool – vs – Stoke City


Jurgen Klopp admits he won't make wholesale changes as this is an important Premier League game: "I prefer to wait until the last second [before deciding who is available]. We have a few little things from [midweek]." Sadio Mane picked up a knock "but it is not that serious" and he could feature in the early kick-off. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain however, is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, although the full extent of his injury is not currently known. "I cannot believe that this wonderful player and person - in such a positive situation and helping the team - that something like this happened. It's not fair. But it’s like we say. If you get a lemon, make lemonade. We will wait for him like the good wife when the husband is in prison." Adam Lallana could return to full training next week.

 

Visitors Stoke have “one or two [players] with bumps and bruises," but there are no serious concerns. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting [groin] and Konstantinos Stafylidis [ribs] remain on the sidelines while Glen Johnson is struggling with an adductor problem. “We are going to have to take a look at him [on Friday] and make a decision from there - but as it stands he is our biggest worry.” If the 33-year-old fails to recover, then on-loan Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma is likely to be handed a recall. Jese, Ibrahim Afellay and Saido Berahino will miss out due to an internal disciplinary matter.

 

 

Burnley – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion


Sean Dyche gave his squad a few days off this week. "We want the players to be fresh. Hopefully they’ve used the down days well." Ben Mee [shin] and Scott Arfield [calf] are both ruled out. The former could play again before the end of the season while Arfield has been granted permission to speak to Rangers with a view to joining them when his current deal expires in the summer. Dean Marney will also leave. "These are two players who have done a lot for this football club and we hope things work out in their favour." Georges-Kevin N'koudou "has had a good week" in training and if there's no reaction he will be available.

 

Chris Hughton reports there are no fresh injury concerns and the Seagull’s boss could stick with the same XI which drew 1-1 with Tottenham eleven days ago. Apart from Steve Sidwell [ankle] and Davy Propper, who serves the final game of his three-match ban, “everyone else is available.”

 

 

Crystal Palace – vs – Leicester City


The Palace treatment room is beginning to empty following an injury-ravaged year - Jason Puncheon, Bakary Sako and Scott Dann are the only players not working with the group. Jeffrey Schlupp played for the under-23s on Monday as part of his latest comeback and Connor Wickham is back in training after a recent groin injury.

 

Kasper Schmeichel [ankle] will miss out again, so Ben Hamer is expected to start in goal: "He took his opportunity to shine against Southampton," said Claude Puel. The absence of Shinji Okazaki, due to injury, will provide an opportunity “for other players to show their quality.” Daniel Amartey [hamstring] is available after missing the last six games but he could play for the development side on Friday evening. Vicente Iborra [hamstring] has returned to light training however, he will not play again this season. Matty James [Achilles] is also ruled out for the remainder of the campaign. Puel is likely to involve some of his fringe players over the coming weeks so he can decide on their futures. "It is important to see others before the end of the season because we have to take resolution.” He dismissed any suggestion of a problem with Wes Morgan or Danny Simpson who were dropped last time out.

 

 

Huddersfield Town – vs – Everton


“We’re missing the three long-term injuries [Elias Kachunga, Danny Williams and Michael Hefele],” confirmed David Wagner. Tom Ince [hamstring] is also ruled out. “With him we speak more about days than weeks.”

 

Morgan Schneiderlin, who was forced off with a dead leg on Monday night, will have a fitness test. Leighton Baines took a knock during the win over Newcastle and Sam Allardyce will make a late call on him, and midfielder Dominic Calvert-Lewin who has a back problem. “We’re waiting on tomorrow for those three.” Gylfi Sigurdsson has started light training [jogging around the pitch] but the Icelandic star is "still a way off" a return to competitive action. Of the rest, only Mason Holgate has a chance of playing again this season - James McCarthy and Eliaquim Mangala are out.

 

Late news: Tests on the back injury suffered by Calvert-Lewin confirm the midfielder has a stress fracture bringing a premature end to his season.

 

 

Newcastle United – vs – West Bromwich Albion


Christian Atsu [knee] is missing for Newcastle while Mikel Merino will have a late fitness test after picking up a heavy knock at Goodison Park: "Everyone else is available."

 

The West Brom squad is "looking good" and Darren Moore will welcome Daniel Sturridge back into the fold after missing the Liverpool game. Nacer Chadli is "getting stronger” giving the Baggies boss plenty of options. Gareth Barry [knee] and James Morrison [Achilles] remain long-term absentees and neither is expected to return for the run-in.

 

 

Southampton – vs – AFC Bournemouth


Steven Davis is at risk of missing the rest of the season. "Unfortunately, he is struggling with his Achilles again, which is an irritant to us and him. We'll have to see where we go with it," mused Mark Hughes. Following an internal disciplinary matter, Sofiane Boufal is currently training with the U23s and won't be involved this weekend. However, the Saints welcome Jack Stephens back from his suspension. Charlie Austin is in line to start on Saturday: "We're pleased with what he's showing. He's a guy that will create chances and test goalkeepers, that is what we need. Given a run of games, Charlie will always score goals!"

 

"We are pretty much as we were," Eddie Howe said ahead of the game. "Apart from Harry Arter, I think we’re OK, he’s got an Achilles problem and won’t play." Adam Smith just misses out: "We thought his injury may have been a season-ending one, but he’s had no operation and is making good progress. I would say next week is more of a possibility." Tyrone Mings is training fully but won't be rushed back having been sidelined since September. Junior Stanislas is hoping to be ready for when the squad reconvenes after their summer break in July.

 

 

Swansea City – vs – Chelsea


Leroy Fer [Achilles] and Wilfried Bony [ACL knee] are not training currently, “plus two players,” confirmed Carvalhal. Frederico Fernandez and Kyle Bartley will have further tests. The pair picked up knee injuries and despite the early optimism, neither was pictured training with the group on Friday. Fernandez was forced off at Manchester City after a kick while Bartley "stretched an internal ligament” in training. Renato Sanches is lacking fitness and may not play again for the club. Luciano Narsingh is over the ankle injury which kept him out of last weekend’s defeat at The Etihad.

 

Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns. Marcos Alonso is banned while injured duo Ethan Ampadu [ankle] and David Luiz are ruled out. Still no timeline for the Brazilian but Conte hopes that he can feature before the end of the season: "The player is working hard in training and improving a lot following his knee problem. He is targeting [a return] this campaign." Conte says Gary Cahill is playing well in a back three, and hints that Andreas Christensen may have to settle for a place on the bench again. "He is having an important season, but it is right to give Cahill more chance to play."

 

 

West Ham United – vs – Manchester City


David Moyes said he will stick with Adrian if the goalkeeper plays well against the Champions on Saturday - recent custodian Joe Hart is ineligible under the terms of his loan agreement. The Hammers boss won't be making any "drastic changes" for the visit of Manchester City: "The boys who have been playing recently have been okay. I don’t think anyone is letting us down in terms of performances." Only Pedro Obiang, of those sidelined long-term, could play again in 2017/18: "He may be back in the last week of the season." No news on James Collins who hasn’t featured since March due to an ongoing hamstring problem.

 

Guardiola rewarded his players with a few days off this week. Fernandinho returns after serving a two-match ban while Sergio Aguero continues his recovery from knee surgery in Barcelona. Although he won't play again domestically, he should be fine for the World Cup. John Stones is close to re-joining the first-team in training and Benjamin Mendy could get more game time following his return, as a second half substitute, in the win over Swansea.

 

 

Manchester United – vs – Arsenal


Sergio Romero is the only expected injury absentee after Jesse Lingard [Achilles] and Antonio Valencia [calf] managed to shake off minor knocks. Expect a strong line-up from Jose Mourinho as a win would guarantee Champions League football.

 

The Europa League remains Arsène Wenger’s priority and following a disappointing 1-1 draw against Atletico on Thursday, he could make a raft of changes ahead of the second-leg. Last weekend was a dress rehearsal for the tie, which meant Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, cup-tied in Europe, started on the bench, although he should be back in the XI. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has an outside chance of facing his former employers. Mohamed Elneny [ankle] and Santi Cazorla [Achilles] are out of the game.

 

 

Tottenham Hotspur – vs – Watford


Danny Rose is available following his recovery from a calf strain. "He is going to join the team [on Saturday] if he’s okay today, we’ll see what happens.” Harry Winks is said to be “progressing well” as he continues his rehabilitation from an ongoing ankle problem. There is still hope that the midfielder can play some part during the run-in. "We’re assessing him. It’s sure it will not be easy for him to play again this season."

 

Gerard Deulofeu is in contention and could feature on Monday: "This week he started training with the team. I am an optimist, and I think in the next games, he can play,” said Javi Gracia. "He’s not in best condition but I think he can help us." The Watford manager also provided a positive update on captain Troy Deeney who should be fine to face London-rivals Spurs. Roberto Pereyra will have a late fitness test after limping off against Palace: "We will see in the next two sessions if he is available for Monday or the next games.” Stefano Okaka suffered a "serious" thigh injury ruling him out of the final three matches. Tom Cleverley and Tommie Hoban are at different stages of recovery and are still working on their rehabilitation. Nathaniel Chalobah is the closest after taking part in full training. Younes Kaboul remains out following another setback: "He had a problem this week and is not with the team. It is only a problem for some days not long-term."