London Soccer Shorts…

Brian Jeeves

Saturday, April 6

Premier League

Crystal Palace v Manchester City – Selhurst Park

Michael Olise could be available for Crystal Palace against Manchester City after returning to training following a thigh issue.

However, teh South Londoners are set to be without Chris Richards, Sam Johnstone, Cheick Doucoure, Marc Guehi, Rob Holding, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi and Matheus Franca for the Selhurst Park clash.

Aston Villa v Brentford – Villa Park

Christian Norgaard and Ethan Pinnock are touch and go for Brentford’s visit to the West Midlands. However, Josh Dasilva, Rico Henry, Ben Mee, Aaron Hickey and Kevin Schade will all miss the Villa Park clash due to injury.

Fulham v Newcastle United – Craven Cottage

Marco Silva has a clean bill of health to report amongst his Fulham squad as they look to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest during the week.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v West Ham United – Molineux

West Ham United goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski will stand in for Alphonse Areola, who is sidelined with a groin injury.

Edson Alvarez is available after serving a two-match ban after accumulating ten bookings. Meanwhile, Nayef Aguerd could make the matchday squad after recovering from injury.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal – AMEX Stadium

Mikel Arteta shuffled the pack ahead of title-chasing Arsenal’s victory over Luton on Wednesday evening but is likely to field a more familiar line-up at the AMEX Stadium, with Bukayo Saka and Declan Rice likely to return against a Brighton side looking to close in on the top seven.

Sky Bet Championship

Huddersfield Town v Millwall – John Smith’s Stadium

Millwall remains in a relegation scrap following Monday’s 2-1 defeat at bottom-of-the-table Rotherham United and will be looking to bounce back against Huddersfield Town side themselves struggling and looking to close the gap.

Speaking to BBC Radio London following the defeat at the New York Stadium, Lions boss, Neil Harris, said: “The first half was very scrappy, the atmosphere here was terrible and the referee was horrific.

“We did enough to win two or three games of football there.

“Second half we’ve made a dozen opportunities to score and rather than Rotherham win the game, we lost that game.”

Queen’s Park Rangers v Sheffield Wednesday – Loftus Road

Much improved Rangers can all but secure their Championship status with a win over struggling Sheffield Wednesday at Loftus Road.

The R’s wo by a goal to nil at Swansea City on Monday, drawing a positive response from boss, Marti Cifuentes: “I am proud and happy of course. I am proud for the effort, for the work the guys put into it, because it’s not an easy game,” he told BBC Sport.

“We started in a good way, getting some chances, but I think slowly Swansea started showing why they are a good team. Since January they have been getting better and better.

“They have good quality players and a style of play that is difficult to play against. We adjusted some details at half-time. We could score in a key moment.

“What I know when I see the table is that we need more points. We are in a good moment of course, the team is improving, but we need to be aware that there are six games left and we need more points.”

Watford v Preston North End – Vicarage Road

Tom Cleverley will be looking to extend his unbeaten sequence in the Watfotrd hot seat to four matches when Preston comes calling at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets saw off Birmingham City, before playing out respective 2-2 draws with Leeds and West Brom in an unbeaten start for the former Manchester United midfielder.

Cleverley will have to do without injured duo Jeremy Ngakia and Ken Sema against a Preston side five points off the play-off places.

Sky Bet League One

Charlton Athletic v Barnsley – The Valley

Assistant boss, Paul Hart spoke to the media ahead of Charlton’s clash with Barnsley at The Valley.

The Addicks are unbeaten in ten matches since Nathan Jones took charge with Hart as his number two: “I think everyone can see that in some of the games we could have picked up some more points,” he explained.

“When we came in we were precariously placed, we dealt as much with the basics, keeping the ball away from the net and getting results, in that respect we are not disappointed.

“We’ve got a great bunch of lads who have really put their lot in over the last eight weeks. We’ve dug out results, we have played well and got results. 

“We’ve also played well and not got the results that we have deserved in terms of wins instead of draws. We have a group of players that are giving their all, that is a massive head start on anybody. 

“We are very pleased with that. We have to round off the edges here and there. You can’t do everything overnight.”

Leyton Orient v Cheltenham Town – Brisbane Road

With the play-offs out of reach, Leyton Orient can play with the shackles off when relegation-threatened Cheltenham Town visits E10.

Back-to-back defeats at the hands of Lincoln City and Peterborough United over the Easter period quashed the O’s top-six hopes. Richie Wellens’ side must also now do without Ipswich Town loanee, Idris El Mizouni, who will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

Sky Bet League Two

AFC Wimbledon v Salford City – Plough Lane

Johnnie Jackson expects his AFC Wimbledon side to pull out all the stops in their chase for the play-offs.

The Dons are looking to bounce back against Salford City at Plough Lane following a defeat to leaders Stockport County on Bank Holiday Monday. Speaking to Jackson said: “There’s four games to go and they’re all games that I feel like we’re capable of winning. If we do that I think it puts us close. 

“We feel gutted at the moment but we’ll pick the boys up and look to show the spirit we showed today as it could take us a long way.”

Sutton United v Stockport County – VBS Community Stadium

Sutton United gave their battle against relegation a boost with four successive victories, lifting them out of the dropzone.

Sutton has seen off Forest Green Rovers, Accrington Stanley, Salford City and Swindon Town in recent weeks but will need to be at their very best when league leaders Stockport County come calling on Saturday.

The Gander Green Lane side a a point clear of second-bottom Colchester United. However, the North Essex side has three games in hand over Steve Morison’s side.

Sunday, April 7

Premier League

Sheffield United v Chelsea – Bramall Lane

Ben Chilwell could return for Chelsea at Bramall Lane following an illness. However, the Blues remain without Wesley Fofana, Romeo Lavia, Reece James, Christopher Nkunku, Levi Colwill, Carney Chukwuemeka and Levi Colwill.

Tottenham Hotspur v Nottingham Forest – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Brennan Johnson is being assessed ahead of Tottenham’s clash with his old club Nottingham Forest in N17, after picking up a knock during the midweek draw at West Ham.

Ryan Sessegnon, Fraser Forster and Manor Solomon remain sidelined for Ange Postecoglou’s men.


Brian Jeeves