Daniel Sturridge is expected to be fit in time for Liverpool’s home clash with Chelsea. Sylvain Distin is ruled out of Everton’s trip to Southampton, though Roberto Martinez won’t be rushing Phil Jagielka back. Ramires is charged by the FA for an off-the-ball incident in last week’s loss to Sunderland, whilst Robbie Brady could return before the end of the season for Hull:
STURRIDGE SET FOR WEEKEND COMEBACK
Reports suggest that Daniel Sturridge is in contention to be fit for this Sunday’s title showdown against Chelsea, having missed out against Norwich last weekend with a hamstring complaint. The striker, who picked up the injury against Manchester City in Gameweek 34, has declared himself ready to return on Sunday, but was uncertain whether Brendan Rodgers will immediately recall him:
“Hopefully this weekend I’ll be back. I’m not too sure if [Rodgers] will play me or not. We’ll have to see.”
The Scout Says: Sturridge’s absence last Saturday offered Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling the chance to take centre stage against the Canaries, but the Englishman will be keen to prove the difference against title rivals Chelsea if he does indeed win his fitness race. Blanks in his last three appearances have somewhat lessened the 10.0-priced forward’s late season appeal, but there is no doubt that Sturridge – who racked up 11 goals between Gameweeks 21-31 – has the ability to outshine his in-form teammates across Liverpool’s final three games of the season (CHE, cry, NEW) as they chase the top spot.
MARTINEZ STILL WON’T RUSH JAGIELKA
Roberto Martinez will maintain his cautious approach towards captain Phil Jagielka’s return from a hamstring problem, despite ruling fellow centre-back Sylvain Distin out of the weekend trip to Southampton earlier today. Martinez reiterated that he will only use Jagielka if he is 100% fit, and earmarked Everton’s penultimate game of the season against Manchester City as his target return date:
“Phil Jagielka has got his own programme and it is important that we follow that and we don’t rush him back. He has been involved with the first team training now and that is a really good sign. We want Phil back as quick as we can but not because we have got an injury with Sylvain. We aren’t going to rush and do the wrong things in his individual programme. Phil is going to be fully fit very soon and I do expect that he will probably be able to make the squad against Manchester City and that’s always been the plan.”
The Scout Says: Absent since Gameweek 27, Jagielka’s recovery from injury has been something of a slog, with Martinez repeatedly refusing to rush his captain back to action. Jagielka’s absence has provided John Stones the opportunity to impress over the past eight Gameweeks, but the youngster’s stint in the Toffees’ backline could be set to come to an end if both Jagielka and Distin are fit for the Man City game in two weekend’s time, depriving Fantasy managers of the only budget route into one of the league’s most in form defences. Antolin Alcaraz will most likely partner Stones for the trip to St Mary’s this Saturday, where the likes of Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana will be keen to return to scoring ways against the Toffees patched-up defence.
RAMIRES CHARGED BY FA
Chelsea midfielder Ramires has been charged by the FA with violent conduct for an off-the-ball incident with Seb Larsson in his side’s draw with Sunderland last weekend. The Brazilian has until later today to respond to the charge which could result in a four-game domestic ban, ruling him out for the remainder of the season.
The Scout Says: With John Terry and Petr Cech already expected to miss the rest of the campaign, Jose Mourinho will have his fingers and toes crossed that the FA rescind Ramires’ charge following an appeal. The 6.3 priced midfielder returned from injury against Swansea two weekends ago, and was due to play a major role for Mourinho’s side as they chase the league title, but his lack of discipline on Saturday could be about to bring his season to a premature end. If David Luiz is chosen to fill in for Terry at the back, Frank Lampard will be first in line to replace Ramires should his appeal fail, although John Obi Mikel will also be pushing for inclusion. With Mourinho and assistant manager Rui Faria also facing FA charges for separate incidents against Sunderland, Chelsea’s cool, calm exterior is beginning to crack at just the wrong time, and Liverpool will be hopeful of taking advantage of the London side’s misfortunes this Sunday.
BRADY OPTIMISTIC OVER RETURN
Hull City’s Robbie Brady has revealed that he may yet feature for his side before the season draws to a close. The young winger returned to action at the start of February following a two-month absence, but was then forced to undergo potentially season-ending surgery on his long standing groin injury later that month. However, the Republic of Ireland international is now optimistic over his chances of featuring in the Tigers’ upcoming FA Cup final date with Arsenal, and may even be back for their final league game of the season at home to Everton.
The Scout Says: Three double figure hauls in the first six Gameweeks of the campaign made Brady a stand-out budget option in the early season. His struggles with injury since have seen that early form fall away, and even his return in Gameweek 24 proved too soon as his groin complaint flared up once again. Nonetheless, should he make his comeback before the season is up, the ex-Manchester United youngster may still have the platform to prove his worth to Fantasy managers ahead of next season. With Brady definitely out of Hull’s upcoming double Gameweek, George Boyd will be hoping to keep his position on the left flank having notched the winner against Swansea two weeks ago, offering Fantasy managers a 4.8 priced midfield option for Hull’s trips to Aston Villa and Man United.