Gareth Bale is fit and available for Tottenham’s home clash with Stoke. Jose Enrique has recovered from a hamstring problem ahead of Liverpool’s game with Fulham, Ben Foster could return for West Brom, Adam Lallana is ruled out for Southampton, Michel Vorm is on the verge of a comeback for Swansea, while Grant Holt is doubtful for Norwich’s trip to the Hawthorns…
Andre Villas-Boas also rolled out an injury update yesterday The Spurs boss announced both Gareth Bale and Michael Dawson have recovered from hamstring injuries to return to the squad for the visit of Stoke tomorrow:
“They have made great progress with their injuries, even last week. For this fixture, both will be available.”
While Dawson’s first-team role remains uncertain after Jan Vertonghen was moved to centre-half alongside William Gallas against Swansea last weekend, Bale’s return could see a change in tactics from 4-4-2 back to 4-2-3-1. Villas-Boas also revealed Emmanuel Adebayor has failed to train all week after sustaining a hamstring problem against the Swans and if the Togo international fails to shake off the problem, Clint Dempsey could tuck in behind Jermain Defoe once again. With many Marouane Fellaini owners still shopping around for a replacement, Bale’s availability will surely see him snapped up by plenty before tomorrow’s deadline – he is now down to 9.5 in FPL, with just 13% ownership.
Brendan Rodgers gave Fantasy managers reason to be happy yesterday after revealing Jose Enrique is fit and available for Liverpool’s home game with Fulham.
“Jose Enrique is back in, which is great news because he was absolutely flying when he picked up his niggle at West Ham. He comes into the squad.”
The left-back lasted just 26 minutes of the Gameweek 16 trip to Upton Park before picking up a hamstring strain – Stewart Downing has deputised in his absence but Enrique was sorely missed as the Reds lost at home to Villa last weekend. Over 20,000 FPL managers have sold him on ahead of tomorrow’s deadline but with 31 points accrued over his last three home appearances, Enrique could well be set to produce the goods once more against a Cottagers side that has scored just once on their last three on the road.
Ben Foster could be set to return for West Brom this weekend. Speaking to the club’s official website yesterday, Foster reckons he is now over the groin injury which has sidelined him in recent weeks…
“I started training properly yesterday so we will see how training goes this week and take it from there. I trained fine yesterday. I felt absolutely fine. The team has been doing well, Boaz has been doing great, so we will just see how it goes.”
The Baggies have managed just a single clean sheet in Foster’s absence – ironically in their previous game with West Ham – and have clearly missed his presence between the sticks, with their defensive appeal taking a real dip in recent matches. With a strong upcoming run of fixtures, including games against Norwich, QPR, Fulham, Reading and Villa, in the next six, Foster could be set for a prosperous comeback, should he get the nod ahead of deputy Boaz Myhill for tomorrow’s Hawthorns clash with the Canaries.
Adam Lallana has been ruled out of Southampton’s home game with Sunderland tomorrow. A somewhat vague Nigel Adkins admitted to the press yesterday:
“Adam is still in his knee brace, but he’s progressing well and is off crutches. I believe we have several good players who can play in offensive positions, especially where Adam plays. Gastón Ramírez played ever so well against Reading, and there are several other players who can play in that position.”
Despite being quizzed on the length of Lallana’s possible absence, Adkins refused to elaborate on the injury that forced his skipper off in Gameweek 16. The midfielder has been an ever-present so far this term, returning two goals and four assists, but with uncertainty over his prospects, his owners have the obvious alternative of Jason Puncheon as a cheaper route into the Saints midfield. Coming in at just 4.7 in FPL, Puncheon has come to the fore in recent weeks and with 34 points in his last five Gameweeks, he’s becoming an integral figure in Southampton’s upturn in fortunes of late.
Adkins also revealed that Argentine stopper, Paulo Gazzaniga, is available to return to the Saints’ lineup against Sunderland having recovered from a shoulder injury. The Southampton boss must now decided whether to recall Gazzaniga or stick with Kelvin Davis who kept a clean sheet in the win over Reading…
“Paulo has been on the training ground. Today he had a proper training session. Kelvin played against Reading because Paulo was injured. He came in and did very well. He kept a clean sheet and put a good performance in so we’ve got good competition for places and that is important.”
Michel Vorm is another keeper who could make his comeback this weekend, as Swansea prepare to face United at the Liberty this Sunday. The Dutchman returned to training a fortnight ago and has gradually built up his fitness, with Michael Laudrup determined not to take any risks over his long-term availability. Gerhard Tremmel has returned two clean sheets in eight appearances as Vorm’s deputy between the sticks and has afforded Fantasy managers a real cut-price keeper option, at 4.1, but looks set to step aside in light of Vorm’s imminent return. Laudrup may still have to make do without Angel Rangel and Pablo Hernandez for the showdown with the league leaders, though – the Spanish pair are still struggling with calf and hamstring problems respectively. Dwight Tiendalli looks set to cover at right-back if Rangel remains out, while Hernandez’s likely continued absence looks set to boost the prospects of Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge on the flanks once again.
Chris Hughton may be without Grant Holt for tomorrow’s trip to West Brom. The forward was subbed off in the last few minutes of last weekend’s win over Wigan with a hamstring injury and according to his manager:
“The good news is it is certainly not anywhere near as bad as either it could be or as we feared it might be – but I would have to say Grant is touch and go for the weekend. If he did miss West Brom, we would certainly hope he is fit enough for the rest of the Christmas period.”
With any possible absence for Holt set to be short-term, Hughton has the option of Steve Morison or Simeon Jackson for the lone forward role in his favoured 4-4-1-1 formation against the Baggies. The Norwich boss also suggested he could turn to Harry Kane as an alternative, though. The on-loan Spurs forward has only just returned to fitness but could come into contention as the Canaries look to extend his side’s unbeaten run to 11 league matches.
“Harry has done a fair bit of work but he will be lacking in some areas, which is normal, but the good news is the injury is fine. It is good to have him back. If he was involved (at WBA) it would be based on the fact he has done enough. We don’t want him to break down.”
The Daily Mail are reporting this morning that Steven Fletcher is fit and in contention for Sunderland’s trip to Southampton, having suffered a back injury in the defeat at Old Trafford last time out. However, local reports still indicate that there is some doubt surrounding Fletcher’s availability, along with that of Danny Rose who missed out against United through injury…
“Fletcher has done a bit of work, and each day that goes on is easier. Danny Rose is also improving, he has a bit more work to do, but he is certainly improving as well. Steven turned and twisted in the warm-up. Danny’s was a matter of time. He failed a fitness test last week and Steven’s injury was a new one, but at this time it is certainly better than it was last week. But we have got Friday to get through yet.”