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FIRST DIVISION.

Birmingham V Sheff Utd

With skipper Steve Bruce sidelined for a month after sustaining a fractured eye socket, Michael Johnson steps back into Birmingham's defence.

Midfielder Bryan Hughes, City's pounds 800,000 buy from Wrexham, will get his first start. That means there is still no room for the out- of-favour Barry Horne.

Top scorer Paul Devlin, free from suspension, is also in the starting line-up, but Jason Bowen is dropped.

Sheffield United completed the pounds 750,000 signing of centre-back Carl Tiler from Aston Villa last night but he signed too late to play today.

Lee Sandford and Mark Beard are both in line for recalls. Alan Kelly and Mark Patterson are back in the the squad but David White is suspended.

Bradford V Wolves

Striker Mike Newell makes his Bradford debut after answering an SOS from Chris Kamara for more firepower.

The experienced target man has been signed on loan from Birmingham until the end of the season and goes straight into the starting line-up.

Sheffield United marksman Andy Walker could follow him to Valley Parade after being lined up for a pounds 300,000 move.

After two successive defeats Wolves switch Neil Emblen to midfield, Geoff Thomas is axed, and Mark Venus goes to centre-back.

Steve Froggatt returns if his damaged hamstring is OK, and Don Goodman is favourite to replace Iwan Roberts in attack.

Grimsby V Tranmere

Grimsby boss Kenny Swain is confident Steve Livingstone and Nicky Southall will shake off knocks in time to boost their survival fight.

Defender Mark Lever also expects to be fit after suffering from a virus.

But Swain - who allowed striker Jamie Forrester to join former Grimsby boss Brian Laws at Scunthorpe for pounds 50,000 this week - will be without Neil Woods, who faces a knee operation.

Full-back John McDermott and centre-half Richard Smith are still out injured.

Tranmere are still without veteran winger Pat Nevin. Defender Tony Thomas has terminated his weekly contract with the club to try his luck in the Spanish sun with Las Palmas.

Huddersfield V Barnsley

Huddersfield boss BrianHorton can field a pair of recognised centre- backs for the first time in six matches after Lee Sinnott's return from injury.

He has been passed fit after being out since New Year's Day with an Achilles problem. He'll partner Kevin Gray at the centre of defence, with left-back Tom Cowan returning after suspension.

Striker Marcus Stewart continues up front, despite still being troubled by a shin injury.

Barnsley welcome back defender Neil Thompson, who's ready to reclaim his left-back berth after proving his fitness in training.

Matt Appleby is challenging for a place in the centre of defence after completing a suspension.

Man City v Stoke City

Nigel Clough is back in the Manchester City squad for the first time in nearly four months.

Clough has been on loan at Nottingham Forest and the clubs had agreed a permanent move for him this week only for it to collapse 24 hours later. City boss Frank Clark may play striker Dalian Atkinson. He has until the end of the season to prove he wants to stay at Maine Road permanently after winning his release from Turkish club Fenerbahce.

Stoke's former Maine Road striker Mike Sheron hopes to end his goal drought against the club who axed him.

Sheron, this week linked with a move to Everton, hasn't found the net since January 18. Kevin Keen is out with a cracked shin.

Norwich V Bolton

Andy Johnson (foot) and John Polston (groin) are definitely missing as Norwich try to recapture a play-off place.

Mike Milligan, Danny Mills and Darren Eadie all return after suspensions, while Andy Marshall and Keith O'Neill have been declared fit to join the squad.

Carl Bradshaw and Shaun Carey both face late fitness tests.

Colin Todd's Bolton, who hold a 16 point lead, are cruising towards the title and not even the absence of two key players can disturb them.

In defence, Steve McAnespie replaces skipper Gudni Bergsson, who has a calf injury.

Jamie Pollock is banned and his place goes to Michael Johansen.

HOW THEY STAND

P W D L F A Pts

Bolton 39 23 12 4 85 48 81

Wolves 38 19 8 11 54 39 65

Barnsley 36 17 12 7 60 43 63

Sheff Utd 38 17 10 11 65 46 61

Ipswich 38 15 13 10 54 46 58

Crystal Pal 36 15 11 10 67 38 56

Norwich 38 15 10 13 55 58 55

Port Vale 39 13 15 11 48 47 54

Stoke 37 15 9 13 44 46 54

Portsmouth 36 15 8 13 45 40 53

Swindon 38 15 7 16 51 54 52

Tranmere 37 14 10 13 50 48 52

QPR 38 13 11 14 48 50 50

Oxford Utd 38 14 7 17 52 53 49

West Brom 38 11 14 13 60 62 47

Reading 36 12 11 13 47 52 47

Man City 37 13 8 16 46 49 47

Charlton 37 13 8 16 44 53 47

Birmingham 36 12 10 14 41 44 46

Huddersfld 38 11 11 16 42 55 44

Grimsby 37 8 11 18 50 70 35

Oldham 36 8 11 17 38 49 35

Bradford 37 8 11 18 38 60 35

Southend 38 7 12 19 35 69 33
COPYRIGHT 1997 MGN LTD
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 22, 1997
Words:889
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