Championship - Team news: Holt battles to make Forest match

Fri, 15 Apr 17:24:00 2011

Norwich captain Grant Holt has been rated at 50/50 to face his former club Nottingham Forest at Carrow Road.

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Holt made both goals in the 2-2 draw at Watford on Tuesday night but then limped down the tunnel at the end with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

The talisman will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness as Paul Lambert's side look for a win which would put them back in the automatic promotion places.

Midfielder Wes Hoolahan has been passed fit after two games out with a hamstring injury while Lambert's striking options could be boosted further by the inclusion of Chris Martin.

Martin has not played since injuring his hamstring in February but travelled to Vicarage Road in midweek and could be included.

Midfielder Korey Smith could also be involved after he missed out at Watford with an eye infection.

Forest hope to have Nathan Tyson available.

The forward missed out with a stiff back as Forest got their play-off challenge back on track with a first victory in 10 matches at home to Burnley in midweek.

David McGoldrick, who came off the bench to score both goals in the 2-0 win over the Clarets, is pushing for a starting role.

Boss Billy Davies must decide whether to stick with Brendan Moloney at right-back or recall Chris Gunter.

Paul Anderson is expected to miss out again as he continues to struggle with the rib problem he sustained against Leeds at the start of the month, while fellow midfielder Chris Cohen will complete a three-match ban.

Robbie Findley has resumed full training after an Achilles injury but the American striker will not be considered for this game.

Burnley v Swansea

Burnley boss Eddie Howe could be boosted by the return of striker Jay Rodriguez ahead of the home clash with Swansea.

The England Under-21s international missed Tuesday's 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest due to a hip problem as the Clarets failed to score for the game running.

However, the 13-goal striker is battling to be passed fit and Howe said: "There is possibly a chance for him."

Rodriguez's return would go some way towards easing the blow of losing Marvin Bartley through suspension.

The midfielder was sent off in midweek against Forest and begins a three-match ban after Howe decided against appealing the decision.

Strikers Charlie Austin and Martin Paterson remain sidelined but midfielder Chris McCann is edging closer to a first-team return.

Swansea are not expected to have any new injury concerns for their trip as they aim to right the wrongs of three successive away defeats.

Manager Brendan Rodgers kept faith with the same side who claimed a 3-0 win over Norwich last weekend for Tuesday's disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Hull.

And the City boss, who has a full-strength squad at his disposal, now faces the dilemma of whether to stick or twist at Turf Moor.

Rodgers has plenty of options available in the form of strikers Tamas Priskin, Craig Beattie and Luke Moore as well as midfielders Leon Britton and Darren Pratley.

But if Swans are to remain in the hunt for the second automatic promotion spot then they must end an away hoodoo which has seen them lose at strugglers Preston, Derby and Scunthorpe in their last three matches away from the Liberty Stadium.

Reading v Leicester

Reading boss Brian McDermott has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the visit of Leicester.

McDermott saw his side make it seven league wins in a row at Scunthorpe in midweek as the Royals climbed to within three points of the top two in the Championship.

And he could name an unchanged side after captain Matt Mills returned to the heart of the defence after a month out with a groin injury.

Goalkeeper Adam Federici is back after nine games out with a knee injury but has been restricted to a place on the bench due to the form of England Under-21 international Alex McCarthy.

Forward Noel Hunt (foot) is still out but defender Alex Pearce is fit after a thigh injury.

The Royals will be looking to continue their impressive home form, having lost just three league games at the Madejski all season.

Meanwhile, Kyle Naughton could return to the Leicester squad.

The full-back, on loan from Tottenham, has missed the last two games through illness.

City assistant manager Derek Fazackerley said: "Kyle is feeling a lot better, he hasn't trained for close on a week so we will have to see how he goes."

Fazackerley added: "There were some knocks and bruises from the Palace game but we will have pretty much a full-strength squad to pick from."

City have plenty of options available should they wish to make changes, with defenders Jeffrey Bruma and Bruno Berner in contention to start.

Midfielders Yuki Abe and Lloyd Dyer and strikers Darius Vassell and Steve Howard are also pushing for recalls.

Leeds United v Watford

Leeds striker Billy Paynter returns to contention for the home clash with Watford following suspension.

Paynter was shown a straight red card following a goalmouth melee in the recent defeat at Sheffield United and has missed the last three matches.

Manager Simon Grayson is still concerned over the trio who missed the midweek defeat at Derby through injury. Winger Robert Snodgrass (back), striker Sanchez Watt and defender George McCartney (both unspecified) face late fitness tests.

Grayson said: "One of them has trained but the other two are still with the physio. We've been doing work with them but as it stands all three are doubts for Saturday.

"In Snoddy's case, he's been carrying this for a couple of weeks but fought through it. It's a back injury and we're trying to get it sorted. The big thing is that none are major injuries."

Meanwhile, Will Buckley is hoping for a Watford recall.

Winger Buckley was left on the bench for the 2-2 draw with Norwich in midweek as manager Malky Mackay utilised striker Troy Deeney in his place wide on the right but could come back into the side.

Full-backs Lloyd Doyley (knee) and Lee Hodson (ankle) are now both fully fit while fellow defender Adrian Mariappa has returned to the side after suspension.

On-loan Manchester United midfielder Danny Drinkwater is also in the squad after recovering from his thigh injury.

Midfielder Stephen McGinn is a long-term absentee with a serious knee injury as Mackay's men look for a win to keep their faint play-off hopes alive.

Top scorer Danny Graham took his tally to 27 for the season in midweek and comes up against a side where he spent a fruitless loan spell in 2006.

Coventry v Millwall

Gary McSheffrey will be assessed ahead of Coventry's home clash against Millwall.

The forward strained the medial ligament in a knee at Fratton Park on Tuesday and was forced off shortly after bagging the second goal in an impressive 3-0 triumph over Portsmouth.

Should McSheffrey be passed fit to feature against the Lions, Andy Thorn could well keep faith with an unchanged matchday 18, with the Sky Blues caretaker boss having named the same set of players on the south coast as he did for last weekend's 2-2 draw at Derby.

Captain Lee Carsley remains on the sidelines with his troublesome Achilles problem, along with defenders Richard Wood (groin), Ben Turner (knee) and James McPake (back).

Coventry are aiming to make it four games unbeaten for the first time since early December.

Millwall will be without their two first-choice strikers when they make the trip.

Top scorer Steve Morison starts a three-match ban following his stoppage-time red card against Bristol City on Tuesday night and Kevin Lisbie has been ruled out for the season with the ankle injury he suffered three days earlier against Leeds.

Boss Kenny Jackett could turn to Josh McQuoid, who has yet to score for the Lions, and veteran Neil Harris, with three goals to his name this term, to spearhead the attack.

Winger Hameur Bouazza and youngster John Marquis provide alternatives while Liam Trotter has also played behind a lone striker this season.

Fit-again Jimmy Abdou (knee) could return to the midfield if Trotter is pushed further forward.

Defender Jack Smith (hamstring) missed out in midweek and will be checked over.

Bristol City v Ipswich

Bristol City are set to be unchanged for the visit of Ipswich.

Striker Andy Keogh has returned to parent club Wolves for treatment on a back injury but has not featured for the Championship outfit for almost a month so Nicky Maynard and Brett Pitman are expected to start up front.

Defender Damion Stewart came through the full 90 minutes of the midweek draw with Millwall after an ankle injury and is fit while left-back Jamie McAllister also recovered from cramp to play.

Stalwart Louis Carey - who fractured his skull in February - is back in training and could return before the end of the season.

Boss Keith Millen said: "We could welcome him back for the Easter weekend when we have two games in the space of three days."

Ipswich defender Mark Kennedy is set to miss out on the trip.

Kennedy has been plagued by hamstring injuries all season and another twinge means he will not feature at Ashton Gate.

On-loan Celtic man Darren O'Dea is likely to deputise as Paul Jewell's side look for a win which would take them into the top half.

Hull v Doncaster

Hull manager Nigel Pearson has refused to rule out a surprise return to the squad for goalkeeper Vito Mannone for the home clash with Doncaster.

Mannone, on loan from Arsenal, has been effectively sidelined since late December with a thigh injury, but returned to full training with the Tigers this week.

Pearson, who has no new injury or suspension problems, said: "We'll have to wait and see, but I don't have any qualms about it (playing him).

"The attitude and mentality of the player is the most important thing and I'm just pleased to have him back with us."

Meanwhile, Nick Barmby is still recovering from a calf problem, but could be available for the Easter weekend.

Midfielder James Harper shook off a foot injury to play the full 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw at Swansea in midweek, while Matt Duke should continue in goal following Brad Guzan's return to parent club Aston Villa.

Doncaster defender Mustapha Dumbuya is hoping to return to contention.

The right-back, sidelined for nearly four months due to a knee injury, recently returned to the side, but missed the midweek home draw with Preston because of a tight hamstring.

James O'Connor, sidelined since mid-February due to a broken bone in his foot, and Matt Kilgallon returned to Rovers' starting line-up in midweek, so manager Sean O'Driscoll has plenty of options.

Another defender, Joe Mills, is still struggling with hamstring trouble, though, and leading goalscorer Billy Sharp, midfielder Martin Woods (both groin), plus defenders James Chambers and Adam Lockwood (both knee) remain sidelined.

Doncaster are eight points clear of the relegation zone and need to secure seven more from the five remaining games to guarantee another season in the Championship.

Teenage forward Connor Wickham earned a point in the 3-3 draw with Middlesbrough midweek after he moved from his station on the left into the centre and he could start through the middle.

That would see winger Lee Martin coming into the side and Jason Scotland dropping out.

Jewell has no other injury concerns but will continue to give Arran Lee-Barrett his chance in goal.

Middlesbrough v Barnsley

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray will be without striker Marvin Emnes for the home clash with Barnsley.

The Dutchman serves the second leg of a three-match ban after being charged with violent conduct by the Football Association following an incident in last weekend's 2-1 victory at Sheffield United.

Mowbray's resources have been further depleted by injuries to central defender Seb Hines and midfielder Merouane Zemmama following the 3-3 draw at Ipswich in midweek.

Hines broke his jaw in two places while Zemmama suffered a hamstring injury and both are likely to miss the rest of the season.

Midfielder Nicky Bailey is also not expected to figure again before the end of the campaign because of ankle ligament damage but Barry Robson (hamstring) could return and Willo Flood is in contention after playing 90 minutes for the reserves in midweek, his third appearance for the second string following his return from a dislocated kneecap.

However, Jonathan Franks and Luke Williams (both ankle), Leroy Lita and Justin Hoyte (both hamstring) and Jason Steele (torn side muscle) remain on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, Barnsley midfielder Hugo Colace faces a race to be fit.

The Argentinian was forced out of last Saturday's home win over Bristol City and missed the midweek defeat to QPR at Oakwell due to a knee injury, with Jacob Mellis, on loan from Chelsea, stepping into the starting line-up.

Crystal Palace v Scunthorpe

Wilfried Zaha will be available for Crystal Palace when they host fellow strugglers Scunthorpe.

The young winger was shown his second red card of the season at the end of the 1-1 draw at Leicester on Tuesday night and was due to start a four-match ban.

But the Eagles appealed against the decision and it was overturned by the FA on Thursday afternoon.

Boss Dougie Freedman sprang a surprise at the Walkers Stadium by resting midfielder Darren Ambrose and striker James Vaughan from his starting line-up and they could return.

David Wright is on the mend after a calf injury and will be checked over but fellow midfielder Alex Marrow is expected to miss out again with an ankle problem.

Forward Jermaine Easter will be added to the bench if he can shake off a thigh knock.

Scunthorpe boss Alan Knill could be without midfielder Michael O'Connor ahead of the crunch trip.

The Northern Ireland international was substituted at half-time during Tuesday's 2-0 home defeat to Reading after feeling his thigh tighten up.

He did not train on Thursday and will be assessed closer to kick-off as the Iron bid to bounce back from the setback against the Royals.

Striker Joe Garner suffered a blow to the head against Brian McDermott's side but Knill expects him to be available to face Palace, who lie six points and one place above Scunthorpe.

Winger Garry Thompson has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing groin surgery and defender Cliff Byrne remains sidelined with a calf injury.

Bobby Hassell has been sidelined for the last two games with ankle and hamstring trouble and is not ready to return but fellow defender Jay McEveley, recently returned from a knee injury, made his comeback off the bench in midweek and is pushing for a place in Mark Robins' starting line-up.

Robins has no other new injury or suspension problems and is unlikely to make too many changes as his side bids to finish the season in the top half of the table.

Preston v Sheffield United

Preston manager Phil Brown will again be without Sean St Ledger and Leon Cort going into the crunch home clash with relegation rivals Sheffield United.

The central defensive duo remain sidelined with leg injuries as North End host the bottom-placed Blades with both sides knowing defeat would put a massive dent in their survival hopes.

Conor McLaughlin, David Gray and Amine Linganzi are missing through longer-term injuries and may not feature between now and the end of the season.

Despite sustaining a cut to his head, striker Chris Brown is fit after completing 90 minutes against Doncaster in midweek on his return from injury.

Preston lie one point above Micky Adams' men but seven points adrift of safety with only five matches remaining.

Meanwhile, Sheffield United manager Micky Adams could hand late fitness tests to Stephen Quinn, Daniel Bogdanovic and Joe Mattock.

Midfielder Quinn is struggling with a knee injury, striker Bogdanovic is nursing a dead-leg and on-loan West Brom defender Mattock has a slight groin strain, but Adams is still hoping they will be available.

Adams will be boosted by the return to contention of midfielder Lee Williamson, who has served a four-game ban following his dismissal in last month's defeat at Watford.

Strike pair Ched Evans (knee) and Richard Cresswell (groin/Achilles) remain sidelined, but midfielder Nick Montgomery appeared as a substitute in midweek after his wife recently gave birth to twins and could return to the starting line-up.

Teenage defender Harry Maguire made an impressive debut against Cardiff on Tuesday night and will be hoping to at least retain his place among the substitutes.

PA Sport

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