Fight for Survival

by Back Page Football

The fight for survival in the Premier League continues this weekend with six pointers at the Reebok and Molineux and a tricky trip to Carrow Road for Wigan.

Fixtures

Saturday March 10th
12:45 Bolton v QPR (Live on Sky Sports 2)
15:00 Wolves v Blackburn
Sunday March 11th
16:00 Norwich v Wigan

Bolton v Qpr is live on Sky Sports this weekend which goes to show how big a game this is. With Qpr sitting two points ahead of Wanderers a win for the London club will give them some breathing space above the relegation zone. Both sides go into this game without a win in their last five league games, Bolton having lost the last four while Qpr had a draw at home to Everton last weekend.

Djibril Cisse returns from suspension for Mark Hughes’s side but Moroccan Adel Taarabt is a doubt with a tight hamstring. Luke Young is back from injury and is in the squad to travel while on loan Manchester United striker Federico Macheda misses out with an ankle injury.

Bolton need three points from this game to stay in touch with Qpr and they will be looking for only their third home win of the season to do so. Defender Paul Robinson has joined Leeds on a one month loan deal as Owen Coyle looks to get a performance similar to their 3-1 win over Liverpool rather than their 2-1 defeat a home to Wigan.

Another six pointer at Molineux on Saturday when Blackburn visit Wolves with only goal difference separating the sides.

Wolves will be looking to bounce back from a 5-0 loss at Fulham last weekend but they haven’t won at home since a 2-1 win over Sunderland on the 4th of December. Roger Johnson will remain as Wolves captain after turning up “unfit to train” on Monday. On loan Sebastien Bassong returns to the squad after recovering from a hamstring injury and striker Steven Fletcher is also back from illness but Karl Henry is out with a hamstring injury.

Gael Givet and Jason Lowe return for Blackburn and midfielder David Dunn will be pushing for a starting place after coming off the bench to score an equalizer against Aston Villa last weekend.

Wigan travel to Norwich on Sunday for another live Sky Sports game. The Latics have only won once in their last ten games and this form has seen them slide to the bottom of the league and they soon need to turn that form around if they are to stay in the Premier League. Victor Moses is expected to return for Wigan after being rested for the 2-0 home defeat by Swansea last weekend and Mohamed Diame and Hugo Rodallega could also start.

Norwich have lost their last two games but remain thirteen points clear of the relegation zone and a win here will seen them within two points of the magic forty point mark. Daniel Ayala will miss the game with a hamstring injury and Marc Tierney is out with a groin problem. James Vaughan is also out for the Canaries as is keeper David Rudd with a foot injury. These sides played out a 1-1 draw in the opening game of the season but a home win is expected here which will put even more pressure on the Latics who could find themselves five points from safety after this weekend.

The only other game this weekend is at Villa Park on Saturday where the home side entertain in form Fulham. Aston Villa haven’t won in the league since their 3-2 win at Wolves on January 21st and with key players Richard Dunne and Darren Bent out injured coupled with a tough run in the Midlands club could yet be dragged into a relegation battle. Alex McLeish will also be without Fabian Delph and Ciaran Clark and with only 2 goals in their last 4 games the pressure will be on Villa to produce in front of a home crowd who have yet to be convinced by the former Birmingham manager.

Fulham are in a great run of form having only lost one of their previous six, a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City. They have scored fourteen goals in the last six including an impressive 5-2 win over Newcastle and a 5-0 win against Wolves last weekend. New loan signing Pavel Pogrebnyak has been in sensational form scoring five goals in his three games as a Fulham player and there will be plenty of interest in the Russian striker in the summer if he keeps up that form. Stephen Kelly is out for Martin Jol’s side and Aaron Hughes is a doubt with a calf problem but Bryan Ruiz is available after missing last weekend’s win over Wolves with a virus.

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