Accrington v Torquay preview
Fri, 01 Mar 2013 11:01:00
Rafa Benitez is likely to make sweeping changes to the starting XI he sent out for a midweek FA Cup fifth round victory over Middlesbrough when Chelsea return to Premier League action against West Brom.
Paulo Ferreira, Ryan Bertrand, Nathan Ake, Victor Moses and Yossi Benayoun are likely to be among those to make way, with Ashley Cole, David Luiz, Frank Lampard, Eden Hazard and Demba Ba pushing for recalls.
Defensive duo Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta sat out cup duty through illness and injury respectively and a decision is yet to be taken on their involvement against the Baggies.
Oriol Romeu remains the Blues' only long-term absentee, as he continues to nurse knee ligament damage.
West Brom could be without their two frontline strikers on Saturday.
On-loan Romelu Lukaku is ineligible to face his parent club, while forward partner Shane Long is a doubt with the ankle injury suffered against Sunderland and has been unable to train so far this week.
Left-back Goran Popov will complete a three-game ban for his red card against Tottenham.
Steve Clarke has included 16-year-old midfielder Isaiah Brown, who is still at school, in his squad.
Lee Molyneux is pushing for a start for Accrington following his stunning double-salvo in midweek.
Molyneux came off the bench for the final half-hour of Tuesday night's local derby with Rochdale and opened the scoring with a spectacular long-range strike before netting a similarly impressive free-kick.
The subsequent 3-0 victory moved Stanley out of the relegation zone on goal difference and Molyneux could join fellow Spotland substitutes Tom Aldred and Amine Linganzi in boss Leam Richardson's starting line-up.
The former was an early replacement for centre-back Mark Hughes, who is a doubt as he waits for the results of a scan on a calf injury.
Craig Lindfield (ankle) and goalkeeper Ian Dunbavin (shoulder) remain on the sidelines.
Torquay look set to be boosted by the return of captain Lee Mansell as they look to end a seven-game losing streak.
Interim manager Alan Knill was without his ill skipper as they lost at home to Wycombe in midweek and the former Bury boss admitted Mansell was a big loss against the Chairboys.
But the long-serving midfielder should return at Stanley, a venue that has seen just one Gulls victory, back in 1930.
Knill hopes to have at least one new face on board before the trip especially in the absence of centre back Aaron Downes with a hamstring injury.
Craig Easton had to be taken off in midweek with a niggling calf injury and he will be assessed.
If the Gulls are beaten by Accrington it be their eighth successive league loss, their worst run of form since the autumn of 1995.