MK Dons v Hartlepool preview
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew could be without Hatem Ben Arfa for
Saturday’s Premier League meeting with Manchester City.
Midfielder Ben Arfa, who made a goalscoring return against
Fulham on Monday night after missing four games due to a hamstring
problem, is a major doubt after aggravating the injury.
Steven Taylor (hamstring) and Yohan Cabaye (groin surgery)
remain on Newcastle’s long-term casualty list.
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is set to miss out after
being substituted in the Manchester derby with a groin injury.
Kompany has a ‘two per cent’ chance of playing, according to
manager Roberto Mancini, so either Kolo Toure or Joleon Lescott
Midfielder Gareth Barry misses out through a one-match ban for
verbally abusing a match official following City’s defeat by
Lee Hughes and Jamal Campbell-Ryce could go back into the Notts
starting line-up for the visit of the Bees.
The duo were expected to feature in the midweek FA Cup
second-round replay with Rotherham but the game was postponed.
Both players have missed the last three games through suspension
and striker Hughes is expected to battle it out with Chris Iwelumo
for a starting berth.
Campbell-Ryce should replace fellow midfielder Alan Judge, who
serves a one-match suspension after picking up his fifth yellow
card of the season at Yeovil last weekend.
Defender Manny Smith made a return to action for the reserves
following four months on the sidelines with a knee problem, but is
unlikely to feature.
Andre Boucaud, Jordan Stewart, and Tom Williams continue to be
ruled out through injury.
Brentford boss Uwe Rosler has no new injury worries to contend
with, but Farid El Alagui, Kevin O’Connor and Tom Adeyemi are all
still on the sidelines.
Striker El Alagui is recovering from a knee injury, club
stalwart O’Connor is a long-term absentee with an ankle problem and
fellow midfielder Adeyemi has hamstring trouble.
Rosler could stick with the side that secured a dramatic 3-2 win
over MK Dons last weekend.
Jonathan Douglas, Marcello Trotta and Harry Forrester all shook
off knocks to play in that game, while Paul Hayes, Sam Saunders and
Jake Reeves are options for Rosler should he wish to tinker with
his starting line-up.
Meanwhile, young defender Alfie Mawson has joined non-league
Maidenhead on loan.
Cheltenham manager Mark Yates could welcome back Jeff Goulding
into his squad following his recovery from a leg injury.
The striker has missed his side’s last two games after picking
up a knock but is available to face the Valiants.
Midfielder Marlon Pack could return to the starting XI having
been rested by the manager.
Yates will give late fitness tests to a number of players but
could have a fully-fit squad to pick from.
He told Cheltenham’s official club website: “Russ Penn took one
hell of a whack on Tuesday night but from the conversation I’ve had
with the physio, it’s that there’s no way he wants to be left out
and that’s the attitude I want.
“There are a few injuries with Jermain McGlashan taking a heavy
whack, Darryl Duffy feels a bit sore but there’s no point worrying
about it. We’ll assess what we’ve got and see where we are.”
Port Vale boss Micky Adams will be without the services of
The 24-year-old winger will serve a one-match ban after
collecting his fifth booking of the season against
His absence comes as a big blow to Adams having been
ever-present so far this season, scoring seven goals.
Fellow midfielders Robert Taylor and Chris Shuker are expected
to battle it out for a starting role.
Adams has no further injury or suspension worries ahead of the
game as they look to return to winning ways.
Last weekend’s defeat to in-form Chesterfield extended their
losing streak to three matches in all competitions but Vale remain
five points behind leaders Gillingham in second place.
Dons boss Karl Robinson is hoping Patrick Bamford will be fit
enough to feature.
The teenage striker, who joined on loan from Chelsea last month,
is currently with his parent club receiving treatment on a
The injury has ruled Bamford out of his last two matches, but
Robinson remains hopeful he will link up with them again before the
Midfielder Daniel Powell returned for last Saturday’s defeat to
Brentford after recovering from a hamstring problem but had to
settle for a place on the bench.
Powell is back in contention for a starting role as Robinson
looks to bounce back from their first loss since October.
Hartlepool boss John Hughes could have Peter Hartley available
The central defender missed last weekend’s home defeat to
Stevenage with conjunctivitis, but has trained this week and should
come into contention.
But fellow defender Neil Austin remains absent as he serves the
third instalment of a four-game ban following two red cards this
Apart from that Hughes has no other injury concerns and Simon
Walton will be pushing for a start after a hamstring injury
restricted him to the bench against Gary Smith’s side last week,
while Luke James also made a substitute’s return following a double
Pools, 10 points adrift at the foot of the table, are chasing
their first win under Hughes and their first success since
September 1 – a run of 20 games in all competitions.