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Friday, November 19, 1999 Published at 14:21 GMT


Sport: Football

Another rivalry restarts

Bradford's Lee Sharpe is ready for an Elland Road return

The two-week Premiership break for the Battle of Britain ends on Saturday with the resumption of another suspended series of derby matches.

It is exactly a decade since the last West Yorkshire league derby match between Leeds and Bradford.

And the pair have never met before in the top flight.

The Elland Road club will hope the last meeting in the old second division is an omen, but Bradford will have opposite feelings.

Leeds were champions of that division in 1990, but the Valley Parade outfit were relegated.

With just a match each on Sunday and Monday, the Saturday programme of eight matches is as full as it has been for weeks.

Leaders Manchester United travel to Derby, while there is a top five clash between Sunderland and Liverpool.

Leeds v Bradford

Although the local rivals met in last season's Worthington Cup, there was no indication then that a league derby was likely to return, particularly for Lee Sharpe, David Wetherall and Gunnar Halle.


[ image: Gunnar Halle: Returning from Valley Parade]
Gunnar Halle: Returning from Valley Parade
The Bradford trio were all Leeds players then, although only Halle started the game and Sharpe was on the brink of a loan move to Sampdoria.

The former Manchester United star says there will be no grudges when the trio return to Elland Road, and he is hopeful - if not confident - of a shock.

"It's going to be a weird sensation because I've never been back to a ground where I used to play, so it's going to be a first for me," said the man who was once Leeds' record signing.

"I suppose we've got to hope a few of them have a bad day and a few of us have a good day and that we also get a little bit of a rub of the green, then who knows we could upset the form book."

Leeds manager David O'Leary has been told by Fifa he cannot play Harry Kewell even if he is fit.

Jonathon Woodgate, Lee Bowyer, Michael Bridges, Gary Kelly and Ian Harte have all recovered from recent injury problems.

For the visitors, Dean Saunders is the only absentee, having failed to shake off a hamstring strain sustained a fortnight ago.

Derby v Man Utd

Derby had hoped to have Scotland duo Colin Hendry and Craig Burley in the ranks by this Saturday, but both moves from Glasgow have been delayed.

Jim Smith juggles a depleted squad in which Dean Sturridge is the only experienced striker.

Esteban Fuertes is still in Argentina trying to sort out his passport, Deon Burton is suspended, Mikkel Beck is on loan at Nottingham Forest and Lee Morris is out with a broken foot.

Fit-again Gary Neville could start only his second Premiership game of the season , while Teddy Sheringham and Nicky Butt are also back from injury.

There is a doubt over Denis Irwin's fitness so Mickael Silvestre could move from central defence to left-back and allow David May or Henning Berg to partner Jaap Stam with Phil Neville on the right.

Butt and Ronnie Wallwork may come in if Paul Scholes is rested, but Mark Bosnich has shaken off a hamstring injury and will continue in goal.

Sunderland v Liverpool

Sunderland are without five players through suspension.

Teenager Michael Reddy is standing by to make his first Premiership start for Sunderland if Niall Quinn suffers any reaction to a neck injury.

Liverpool will be without thigh injury victim Titi Camara and Vladimir Smicer, who has a hamstring problem.

Steve Staunton is struggling with a knee injury but Robbie Fowler will not be considered yet after his ankle operation.

Everton v Chelsea

Scotland's David Weir gets an enforced rest through suspension but Don Hutchison and John Collins must continue for the home side.

Everton welcome back six players from injury, with Francis Jeffers set to start on the substitutes' bench and Norwegian keeper Thomas Myhre available for the first time this season.

Michael Ball, Abel Xavier, Richard Gough and Mark Pembridge also return but 38-year-old defender Dave Watson is out after a knee operation.

For Chelsea Graeme Le Saux is still out with an ankle injury and Dennis Wise completes a three-game suspension.

Striker Mikael Forssell has a knee problem as Chelsea seek a first Premiership win since early October.

Arsenal v Middlesbrough

Gilles Grimandi and Matthew Upson are set to replace suspended Arsenal duo Patrick Vieira and Martin Keown.

Vieira starts a seven-match ban with Keown missing two.

Ray Parlour will challenge Fredrik Ljungberg for a right-wing role, but Brazilian Silvinho has thigh problem.

Full-back Oleg Luzhny made a surprise return for Ukraine in midweek, despite Arsenal's belief he was unfit through a groin injury.

Paul Gascoigne has been recalled by Middlesbrough along with three youngsters.

Christian Ziege and Keith O'Neill are suspended. Gary Pallister and Phil Stamp are rated at only 50-50 with back and groin injuries respectively.

Southampton v Tottenham

Scott Hiley is in line for a recall to Southampton's defence with captain Jason Dodd still recovering from a knee operation.

Mark Hughes and Matt Le Tissier are expected to recover from injuries along with defender Claus Lundekvam.

Kevin Davies and Portuguese defender Marco Almeida are suspended while long-term victims David Hirst, John Beresford and David Hughes are all missing.

George Graham is without Stephen Carr, who damaged ankle ligaments in the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2000 play-off in Turkey on Wednesday.

Luke Young or Mauricio Taricco could fill in at right-back, but Steffen Iversen, who also returned from international duty in Norway with an ankle injury, should be fit to start up front alongside Chris Armstrong.

Leicester v Wimbledon

Leicester skipper serves the one match ban he picked up for elbowing Michael Owen in last month's home clash with Liverpool.

Phil Gilchrist and Steve Walsh compete for his place whilst Emile Heskey has recovered from a leg knock and will start.

Ben Thatcher is the only doubt for Wimbledon after suffering an ankle ligament injury during training earlier this week.

Walid Badir should play despite picking up a knock for Israel in midweek while long-term injury absentee Gareth Ainsworth has failed a fitness test on his groin problem.

Watford v Newcastle

French striker Xavier Gravelaine could make his first appearance for Watford after joining on a free from Paris St Germain.

Mark Williams completes his three-match ban against Newcastle, while Watford manager Graham Taylor is still missing key players through injury.

Nordin Wooter picked-up a knee injury at Sheffield Wednesday a fortnight ago, but Paul Robinson returned to training this week after ankle trouble and will be in the squad.

Newcastle will be without Duncan Ferguson, who suffered a calf injury in training while Didier Domi damaged an ankle on international duty with the French under-21 side.

Boss Bobby Robson will await the return of Peruvian winger Nolberto Solano from South America before deciding whether or not to include him.

Warren Barton is definitely missing as he serves the third of a four-match ban.





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