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Shakespeare will not take risks with Morgan
Craig Shakespeare confirms center-back Wes Morgan won’t feature against Crystal Palace this weekend, but is still “50-50” for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid. The Foxes skipper trained on Thursday but will miss out on this weekend’s trip to Selhurst Park due to an ongoing nerve problem in his back. “Wes trained yesterday (Thursday), not all with the squad, but I’ve said before that he’ll still be 50-50 for Atlético Madrid,” Shakespeare said. “We’ll give Wes every opportunity between now and Tuesday to be fit, but if he’s not ready, we won’t take a gamble.” The City manager added that midfielder Daniel Amartey could play at center-back alongside Yohan Benalouane on Saturday with Robert Huth suspended for the second-leg of the quarterfinal. Shakespeare said: “If I think playing Amartey at centre-back is the right thing to do, then I will.” Troy Deeney likely to return for Swans visit
Troy Deeney should be back in his traditional place in the starting line-up after a week coming off the bench due to fatigue against Spurs last weekend. Walter Mazzarri sited fatigue as the reason that club captain Troy Deeney started Watford’s Week 32 match on the bench. After a week featuring a reduced work load, Deeney should be ready to go again as the Hornets host relegation-threatened Swansea. The attack should be improved from last weekend’s thrashing at the hands of Spurs but the defense will still be weakened with Younes Kaboul, Sebastian Prodl, Valon Behrami, and Miguel Britos each anywhere from unlikely to definitely out. Joe Allen out for Week 33 Hull City visit
Joe Allen will miss Stoke City’s home match with Hull City on Saturday after failing to recover from a knock suffered last weekend. The former Liverpool and Swansea City midfielder started off the season on fire scoring goals, picking up assists, and generally bossing the midfield for Mark Hughes’ side. Since his early-season run of excellence, he has come back to earth. He has been a good player for the Potters overall but after glimpses of being a mid-table star he’s reverted to being more of an above average contributor for a mid-table club. Still, his absence will be felt with high-flying Hull City coming to the Britannia. Allen has a chance of returning for Week 34 but that is hardly a sure thing. Ibrahim Afellay may be out for the season
Ibrahim Afellay is likely lost for the balance of the season due to a significant knee injury. After coming back from a long-term injury at about mid-season, Afellay had a chance to pick up minutes and starts as Xherdan Shaqiri missed matches. That worked adequately in spurts but Afellay failed to score a goal or pick up an assist in 12 matches (3 starts and 9 as a substitute). With Shaqiri a frequent visitor to the injury list and Afellay now suffering his second significant knee injury in a year the Potters will need to investigate a replacement of some sort this summer. Gabbiadini to return for GW33 vs Man City
Southampton’s Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini has been passed fit to play against Manchester City on Saturday. Claude Puel and his side will welcome the return of the January signing as Shane Long and Jay Rodriguez struggled to score in his absence. Gabbadini has been out since picking up a groin strain against Spurs last month. His manager has admitted that the former Napoli man may not be fit enough to play 90 minutes on Saturday: “”He is likely to come back into the squad and we will see if he can start, or perhaps come on in the second-half of the game.” Huddlestone back from suspension for Hull
Tom Huddlestone has completed his three match ban after receiving a red card at Everton last month. Local outlet the Hull Daily Mail expects Huddlestone to retake his place in Marco Silva’s starting XI at the expense of Alfred N’Diaye. Huddlestone had been performing brilliantly before his suspension, and the Senegalese has struggled to consistently fill his boots in his absence. He will most likely partner Sam Clucas in midfielder. Clucas will be freed up to play in his more natural box-to-box midfield role and attack more, while Huddlestone will provide a screen in front of the defence. Mata ruled out for the rest of the season
It has been revealed that Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata will not play again this season after undergoing surgery on a groin injury. The Spaniard went under the knife in late March and had previously hope to return to fitness in time to take part in the final weeks of the season. However, today Jose Mourinho confirmed he would not be back to full fitness before the end of May. The news is a blow to United’s Europa League and top four ambitions as Mata’s eye for goal and creativity have been and will be sorely missed. Mourinho did not suggest that Mata would be fit in time for the Europa League final on May 24 if United were to progress that far in the competition. Jones and Smalling ruled out until “mid-May”
Manchester United will have to do without centre-backs Phil Jones and Chris Smalling until “mid-May” according to Jose Mourinho. The pair both returned to Manchester having suffered injuries while on duty with England in March and have not played since. The prognosis Mourinho delivered means that the pair maybe be available for the final three PL games of the season against Tottenham, Southampton and Crystal Palace and the Europa League Final if United make it that far. In the interim, United will have to rely on Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo in the heart of defence in spite of Mourinho’s fears that they are over-fatigued: “There is nothing I can do [about the current defensive situation],” he said. “They [Bailly and Rojo] have to go until the limits. There is no other choice. We don’t have any other central defenders. They have to go. There is no other chance.” He also added that he would rest the duo for Europa League matches if making the top four became mathematically impossible.