Brief news ahead of this
weekend's Premier League fixtures:
Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish, whose side are not
mathematically safe, hopes centre-back James Collins can
continue his good form at leaders Manchester United on Sunday
when Paul Scholes returns to the hosts' starting lineup.
"Big James has been very strong and has read things well. He
has been a colossus. He is out quickly, his heading is dominant
and his consistency has been really excellent," the Scot told
the club website.
"He has stepped up with the young players in the team,
helping them through it. He has thrived on the extra
responsibility. I have been really delighted with him."
Second-placed Manchester City travel to an in-form Norwich
City, who welcome back right-back Kyle Naughton on Saturday
after he was ineligible to play against parent club Tottenham
Hotspur in last Monday's surprise 2-1 win.
Second-bottom Blackburn Rovers visit Swansea City on
Saturday desperate to boost their survival fight and manager
Steve Kean reckons the Welsh side may have gone of the boil.
"I've seen them recently and there's no reason why we can't
go there and get something from this game," he told a news
Queens Park Rangers boss Mark Hughes, whose 16th-placed
side go to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, has not set his
improving team a survival target.
"How many points do we need? I don't know," he told the club
"It's difficult to call at this moment in time, but I'm
convinced we'll be fine if we continue to apply ourselves like
we have over the last couple of weeks."
Basement side Wolverhampton Wanderers travel to Sunderland
on Saturday and winger Matt Jarvis is not expecting an easy
"Sunderland is always a very tough place to go. They have
done extremely well this season since Martin O'Neill took over.
But we will make sure we go there in good spirits and give it
another go," he told the club website.
"We can all see the league table but we will just keep going
and giving it our best. We want to get a win for the fans and
for ourselves but we also want to give Terry Connor his first
Premier League win as a manager."
Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs is 50/50 to face
17th-placed Wigan Athletic at home on Monday but winger Gervinho
is more likely to be involved, manager Arsene Wenger told a news
conference on Friday.
Arsenal, in third, will be without Abou Diaby but he is
close to fitness.
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