Late Fitness Check | Round 14

Ben Dinnery
Rotoworld

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

We have a full slate of midweek fixtures coming up, so make sure you’re following throughout for all the latest Premier League updates from Round 14. Our Player News page contains breaking headlines while any last-minute injury updates can be found on the Injury Report.   

Good luck!  

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Newcastle United – vs – Manchester City

Steve Bruce says he was "devastated" to learn that Matt Ritchie required a second surgery on his ankle. "We did give him a period of rest; he went to see the specialist again and had the operation the next morning. We hope this time he’s back in training in early January.” DeAndre Yedlin "has a (hip) problem" and may not make the early kick-off. Emil Krafth is a potential replacement. Sean Longstaff returns after a three-match absence due to suspension. "It's good to see him back," said the United boss. Other than the skipper - Jamaal Lascelles (fractured tibia) - and those already mentioned. Everyone else is fit and available. Florian Lejeune will be hoping to force his way into the matchday squad following a return to full fitness.

No fresh injury concerns for City. "[It’s a] normal situation," said Pep. "[The] long injuries are long (Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sané)." Sergio Agüero and Oleksandr Zinchenko remain side-lined with the pair looking to return by mid-December. "The others are fit."

Burnley – vs – Crystal Palace

Sean Dyche says Danny Drinkwater has "worked well" following his recovery from an ankle injury, and the Chelsea loanee comes into his thinking for Saturday. "His sharpness is improving, so he's in the mix." Ashley Westwood must sit this one out after receiving his fifth caution of the season at Vicarage Road. No mention of Matej Vydra (hip) who should be close or Johann Berg Gudmundsson (hamstring) who is expected to miss out.

Roy Hodgson confirms Joel Ward will be sidelined for "some weeks" following the knee injury which forced him off vs Liverpool. "Other than that, we have recovered well." The Eagles have no other injury concerns, although on Thursday one London-based media outlet reported that Gary Cahill was training alone. Martin Kelly is expected to deputise for Ward, and Scott Dann is available if Cahill was to miss out. Mamadou Sakho is close after playing for the U23s on Monday. "He has been fine for a while. The last two weeks he’s been training, so it’s just a question of getting back, if you like, to the full fitness level he wants to achieve and to do that, he’s got to play some matches." Andros Townsend is managing an ongoing muscular issue. “He’s going to have to be very careful going forward because the type of strain that he’s playing through won’t go away with all the games that we have to play."

 

Chelsea – vs – West Ham United

Tammy Abraham “won't be involved” and Frank Lampard says they should know on the striker’s hip injury by the end of the weekend. Michy Batshuayi looks poised for his first league start of the season following plaudits from the Blues boss in Fridays’ press conference. "It's not easy when you're not playing as many minutes as you want. I've seen a great work ethic and quality." Antonio Rüdiger is "getting closer", and the centre-back is "working very hard" as part of a mini-preseason to regain his fitness levels. No mention of Callum Hudson-Odoi but Lampard had this to say ahead of the Valencia tie midweek. "He is getting better, so hopefully he will be better for the weekend." No word on Ross Barkley.

Jack Wilshere is still struggling to overcome an ongoing pelvic problem, but Manuel Pellegrini is hoping the midfielder can begin training fully from next week. Lukasz Fabianski has already started light work and is said to be targeting a return before the end of the year, although the Hammers boss wouldn't be pinned down to a specific game week. "We will see what the doctors say - the first date that was around was about Christmas, but we don't have an exact date yet." Winston Reid continued his recovery with the U23s this week; the centre-back is expected to rejoin the first team from Monday. Manuel Lanzini began non-contact work on the training pitches. "But he needs at least one month more without any problems with his shoulder." Fabián Balbuena could return to the side as Issa Diop serves a one-match ban after collecting his fifth caution of the season against Tottenham.

 

Liverpool – vs – Brighton and Hove Albion

The Reds confirm Fabinho suffered ankle ligament damage during the Champions League encounter with Napoli; further tests are needed, but the Brazilian will probably be out of action until the new year. “It's absolutely bad news," Jurgen said. “[But] we have solutions for that position." Xherdan Shaqiri is fit, and Naby Keita returns after an illness. Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are ready and can be called upon. Joel Matip was scheduled for a scan on Friday to check the progress of his recovery from an ongoing knee problem.

Solly March complained of tightness in his groin this week, and the winger is a doubt for the game at Anfield. Aaron Connolly is back in contention after suffering a groin-related injury against Manchester United back in week twelve. "Bernardo got his first 45 minutes [on Wednesday], but Saturday will come a bit too soon." Lewis Dunk returns to the matchday squad after missing the defeat to Leicester due to suspension. "He's been great for us, and anyone would miss their skipper, so we're delighted to be able to have him back for selection."

 

Tottenham Hotspur – vs – AFC Bournemouth

Ben Davies has begun the first phase of his rehab after tests confirmed he suffered ankle ligament damage during the win over West Ham. Erik Lamela (hamstring) is in the final stages of conditioning before a return to training, and goalkeepers - Hugo Lloris (elbow) and Michel Vorm (calf) - continue their recovery with the skipper targeting a return in January.

Ryan Fraser suffered a dead leg in the loss to Wolves which caused him to miss sessions earlier in the week. He did, however, train on Thursday and Friday, and should be fine. Josh King (hamstring) is still around 7-10 days away from a return, and David Brooks (ankle) remains out as he still isn’t working outside. Charlie Daniels and Junior Stanislas are long-term absentees. Dominic Solanke complained of a tight hamstring when warming up at half-time (GW13) and was sent for a scan on Monday which came back clear; he has been pictured working with the group again. Lloyd Kelly (thigh) is hoping to be okay, but Eddie Howe will make at least two enforced changes as Philip Billing and Simon Francis are suspended.

 

Southampton – vs – Watford

Sofiane Boufal is a major doubt. "He hit his toe at home, on the table. The big one and he couldn't train for three days now, and it is a little bit swollen still. It would be difficult for the weekend I think, next week yeah. It's not broken, but it's swollen." Stuart Armstrong has been ruled out. "He has a little bit of a problem with his hamstring. He is not able to play at the weekend; we'll have a look in two weeks. After the Newcastle game, he's maybe an option." Jannik Vestergaard missed two days of training due to illness, but the defender did rejoin the group on Thursday. That said, he failed to make the matchday squad in week thirteen.

The Hornets are currently managing quite an extensive injury list. Craig Dawson (head), Christian Kabasele (hamstring) and Daryl Janmaat (knee) are all out this weekend. The trio join long-term absentees - Tom Cleverley (heel), Danny Welbeck (hamstring) and Sebastian Prödl (knee) in the treatment room. Daniel Bachmann (hamstring) and Domingos Quina (groin) have trained during the week. “[Dawson] will not be available, he received a couple of cuts in the head and has had stitches,” said Sánchez Flores. “It would be a risk to play the player, and we are not going to. We are not this desperate, not now and not in the future. We need to respect the players.” Troy Deeney is nearing a first start since August as he continues to build fitness. Roberto Pereyra could also return to the 18. “I’m not sure if he is in a position to play in the first XI. It’s been two weeks now [since his injury], and we need to feel like the players are at 100 per cent to play."

 

Norwich City – vs – Arsenal

Grant Hanley is still on his way back from a groin injury. Timm Klose remains out long-term, and there are no guarantees he will play again this season. Alex Tettey won’t be considered due to personal reasons, and Jamal Lewis has re-joined the group following the knee injury he suffered with Northern Ireland. "We'll decide how that develops." Christoph Zimmermann is a "key" part of the Canaries defence. "To have him back is always important with his skills. His experience helps the young players," said Daniel Farke. Todd Cantwell left Goodison Park with his left foot in a protective boot. The midfielder couldn’t train from Monday to Wednesday... However, he did return on Thursday. "So, I think he'll be available."

David Luiz sustained bruised ribs during the Eintracht Frankfurt match on Thursday. The Brazilian is being assessed, along with Shkodran Mustafi (bruised foot). Héctor Bellerín (tight hamstring) is a slight concern, but Sead Kolasinac returns after missing the last two games. Dani Ceballos is still around three weeks away from being in contention. Interim boss Freddie Ljungberg takes charge for the first time following the dismissal of Unai Emery on Friday morning.

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers – vs – Sheffield United

Nuno Espírito Santo named an unchanged side in Portugal on Thursday evening for the UEL tie with Sporting Braga. However, with Romain Saiss suspended, forgotten man Jesús Vallejo could be called in from the cold if Ryan Bennett fails to overcome a groin complaint. A persistent back issue means Morgan Gibbs-White hasn’t had competitive minutes in over a month.

Chris Wilder confirms Mousset has recovered from the hamstring issue that forced him off last weekend. "We all feared the worst when Lys pulled up. He’s been outstanding for us. He just ran out of gas. The amount of effort he put into that game was phenomenal. He’ll be involved [on] Sunday.” John Egan "should" be back, but there are no guarantees he will make an immediate return to the side. "He’s got to oust Phil Jagielka who I thought was outstanding,” said Wilder. No other injury issues. The Blades travel to Wolverhampton on Saturday with a full squad.

 

Leicester City – vs – Everton

Brendan Rodgers confirms Jonny Evans is fit and available. His withdrawal last weekend was fatigue-related (cramp). "He had one day off because his wife gave birth - he’s had a busy few weeks. He just seized up after playing a lot of football recently." Matty James (Achilles) is the only player currently sidelined.

The injury situation does not look good for Everton, and Marco Silva will have several decisions to make after the final session on Saturday. Morgan Schneiderlin and Theo Walcott are "big doubts" while Fabian Delph is struggling to shake off a hamstring problem. "It will be tough for him to be fit for the match." Bernard is back in full training, but he needs time to build fitness, and a place on the bench seems likely. Seamus Coleman has been ruled out... but thankfully, Richarlison will be okay after sustaining a knock.

 

Manchester United – vs – Aston Villa 

Scott McTominay could make an unexpected return. “He’s back home, and I’ve not seen him,” Solskjaer said when asked for an update following the defeat in Kazakhstan. “Maybe [he will be fit to face] Spurs but hopefully for Sunday.” Paul Pogba has "stepped up" his recovery, but the Villa game will come too early. “He’s not really been able to play for us and, when we get him back, it’ll be like a new world-class signing and world-class midfielder. We want him back as soon as possible. Sunday? No. Let’s see where he’s at when he starts training with us.” Axel Tuanzebe completed the full 90 minutes in the 2-1 defeat to Astana after a month out with a hip problem, while Luke Shaw also made it from start to finish in his first appearance since August.

Dean Smith confirms Bjorn Engels (hip) “is fine” after training every day so far. “He just felt he wasn't right to give us 90 minutes if required against Newcastle. So, I didn't put him on the bench.” Jota has been training for two-three weeks, and he needs “some match minutes” to put him in contention. Keinan Davis will start to jog from Monday. “He's pain-free, so hopefully he'll be back in the next two-three weeks as well."

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