Team news: Two to return for Reading

All the team news ahead of Good Friday's Championship games, with Reading ready to welcome back two key players.

Eurosport

FRIDAY (kick-off 3pm unless stated)

Reading v Leeds United (2pm)

Reading hope to include Jem Karacan and Jimmy Kebe in their matchday squad. Karacan broke his nose in the 4-2 victory at West Ham last time out, while Kebe suffered from the onset of cramp, and neither lasted the full 90 minutes at Upton Park but both players could feature against the Whites. Midfielder Jay Tabb is a doubt, however, after damaging a rib in a tackle with Julien Faubert in the win over the Hammers. Joseph Mills is working his way back to full fitness following a quad problem and will not play a part, while right-back Matthew Connolly continues to miss out with his ankle injury. Adam Le Fondre missed the trip to London last weekend because of a knee complaint, but the striker could be handed a recall, while reserve goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen remains sidelined with a knee injury of his own.

Leeds manager Neil Warnock will be forced into a defensive reshuffle. Defenders Darren O'Dea and Paul Connolly, plus midfielder Adam Clayton are suspended, while winger Aidy White could be ruled out for the rest of the season due to an ankle injury. O'Dea will serve the second game of a two-match ban for reaching 10 yellow cards for the season, Connolly misses one game after his dismissal in last week's defeat to Watford and Clayton faces a two-match ban following his 10th booking of the campaign in the same match. White is unlikely to feature again this season after sustaining an ankle injury against Watford and with two unnamed players suffering from a virus this week, Warnock will be struggling to name a 16-man squad.

Burnley v Brighton and Hove Albion

Ben Mee will undergo a late fitness test before Burnley entertain play-off hopefuls Brighton. The 22-year-old former Manchester City youth team captain was ruled out of Tuesday night's defeat to Birmingham with a back injury and the absence of fellow defender Danny Lafferty (hamstring) meant winger Ross Wallace was pressed into action as an emergency left-back. Dean Marney is expected to retain his place in midfield despite suffering a head injury in a collision with Blues striker Nikola Zigic that forced him to be substituted. Forward duo Jay Rodriguez (hip) and Martin Paterson (hamstring) are set to remain on the sidelines, while former West Ham wideman Junior Stanislas is pushing for a start following his impressive cameo from the bench against Birmingham.

Brighton midfielders Liam Bridcutt and Matt Sparrow are suspended. Bridcutt starts a two-match ban after he was booked for the 10th time this season against Middlesbrough last weekend, and Sparrow completes his two-game suspension for a red card at Nottingham Forest the week before. The Seagulls can welcome back Gonzalo Jara Reyes after a three-match ban, although Inigo Calderon may keep his place at right-back after scoring twice in his last three appearances. Midfielder Gary Dicker was an unused substitute against Boro, his first appearance in the squad since breaking his leg in October, and he should be involved again. Defender Tommy Elphick is the only long-term absentee with an Achilles problem.

Watford v Blackpool

Adrian Mariappa will again watch from the stands as Watford host Blackpool. The centre-back has missed the club's last three matches with an ankle injury and will continue to sit out against the Seasiders, although manager Sean Dyche remains hopeful he will play again this season. Otherwise, the Hornets boss has a full-strength squad to select from as his side aim to extend their seven-match unbeaten run and continue their late surge for a play-off place. Chris Iwelumo will keep his place in attack having marked his recall against Leeds last weekend with a brace to secure an impressive 2-0 victory at Elland Road. Dyche is unlikely to make any changes to his starting line-up at a sell-out Vicarage Road for a game which, if Watford were to win, would see them move within three points of their opponents.

Veteran striker Kevin Phillips will face a late fitness test. The Seasiders' top scorer missed out on last weekend's 3-0 win over former club Southampton due to ankle and hip soreness. Phillips might have to be content with a place on the bench at Vicarage Road - where he started his professional career in 1994 - as Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Stephen Dobbie combined well in attack against the Championship leaders, the latter bagging a brace on his first start since returning to Blackpool on loan from Swansea last month. Fellow forward Roman Bednar will remain on the sidelines and the West Brom loanee could miss the rest of the season with damaged knee ligaments. Captain Barry Ferguson and left-back Stephen Crainey were rested against the Saints and return to manager Ian Holloway's plans, while four unnamed Blackpool players will be not be considered for selection after they broke a club curfew.

Barnsley v West Ham United (5.15pm)

Barnsley manager Keith Hill will choose his starting line-up from an unchanged squad. Hill has no new injury or suspension problems, but is still without seven first-team players as the Tykes bid to steer clear of relegation trouble. Winger Matt Done (back/hamstring), midfielders Jacob Butterfield and David Perkins, right-back Bobby Hassell (all knee), centre-half Rob Edwards (hamstring) and goalkeeper Luke Steele (abdomen) remain sidelined through injury, while another midfielder, Nathan Doyle, sits out the second game of a three-match ban. Steele will miss at least the next three games and could be ruled out for the rest of the season, so David Button, on loan from Tottenham, will continue.

Mark Noble will be missing. The seven-goal midfielder suffered a thigh strain during the first half of last Saturday's 4-2 defeat by Reading and is likely to be ruled out for a couple of weeks. But boss Sam Allardyce can call on Papa Bouba Diop to step in after the Senegal international proved his fitness with a run-out for the reserves this week following two and a half months out with a hamstring injury. Defenders Winston Reid (concussion) and Guy Demel (thigh) are also available after their recent spells on the sidelines. Winger Ricardo Vaz Te returns to Oakwell for the first time since leaving Barnsley to join the Hammers in January.

View Comments (0)