Fleetwood v Southend preview

BY foxsports • December 7, 2012

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce will welcome Yossi Benayoun back into his squad to face Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.

The former Reds midfielder missed the Hammers' 3-1 win over Chelsea as he was ineligible to appear against his parent club.

Andy Carroll (knee) could be missing for two months but would not have been able to feature against Liverpool due to the terms of his loan, whilst Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder), Alou Diarra (thigh) and Jack Collison (knee) are all definitely out.

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is suspended for the trip to Upton Park after accumulating five bookings.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has played midfielder Jonjo Shelvey in a 'false nine' position before and could do so again as a stop-gap with no other senior strikers fit.

Captain Steven Gerrard, left out of the Europa League squad which beat Udinese in Italy because of illness, will be restored at Upton Park as will the rested Daniel Agger and Lucas Leiva.

Graham Alexander will lead Fleetwood for the first time against their fellow League Two promotion chasers.

Former Scotland international Alexander, who played over 1,000 games in a professional career that came to a close with Preston last season, was installed as Micky Mellon's successor on Thursday.

Alexander can expect to have Cod Army captain Steve McNulty fit after the centre-back hobbled off during the closing stages of last weekend's 3-2 FA Cup defeat to Aldershot - a third straight competitive loss that ultimately cost Mellon his job.

McNulty has shaken off a calf injury and could be joined by Rob Atkinson at the heart of the defence.

Atkinson was cup-tied last time out following his loan spell with Accrington this term, although he must displace versatile Crystal Palace loanee Alex Marrow in order to start.

Curtis Obeng (knee) should be passed fit to feature on either the right-hand side of defence or midfield, but the match is expected to come too soon for striker Jon Parkin (hamstring).

Gavin Tomlin and Mark Phillips are two of a handful of players who face fitness tests for Southend.

Forward Tomlin and defender Phillips both missed Tuesday's 2-1 Johnstone's Paint Trophy success over Brentford due to injury, and the pair face a race against time to be fit to line up against The Cod Army.

But they are not the only ones, with midfielder John Spicer (virus) among those also struggling.

Manager Paul Sturrock told the club's official website: "We've got a few niggles and knocks, we've now played 26 games in just a few months so it's tough.

"Gavin and Mark will have fitness tests along with a few others while there have been a couple like John Spicer who have been suffering from a virus."

Midfielder Michael Timlin definitely misses out having picked up his fifth booking of the season in midweek, incurring an automatic one-match suspension.

Marc Laird, however, does return to the fold having been cup-tied against Brentford.


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