Berbatov may return as United injuries mount

Brief news ahead of this weekend's Premier League matches:

Second-placed Manchester United face mounting injury problems as they prepare for the visit of Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday with club captain Nemanja Vidic out for the season after rupturing his cruciate knee ligament.

Vidic, who was injured in the Champions League defeat at Basel in midweek, joins midfielder Tom Cleverley, strikers Michael Owen and Javier Hernandez and the Da Silva twins, defenders Fabio and Rafael, on the sidelines.

However, Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov could return after suffering a recurrence of a foot injury in last month's League Cup quarter-final defeat by Crystal Palace.

Fifth-placed Arsenal have a goalkeeping crisis ahead of their home match against Everton.

Lukasz Fabianski (knee) and back-up Vito Mannone (shoulder) were injured in the midweek Champions League defeat at Olympiakos and manager Arsene Wenger has had to add out-of-favour Spaniard Manuel Almunia to the squad.

Brazilian left-back Andre Santos (ankle) was also injured during the 3-1 defeat in Greece and misses out.

Everton are likely to be without midfielders Jack Rodwell and Leon Osman who are struggling with hamstring injuries although striker Louis Saha could be in contention.

Liverpool will be without the suspended Jay Spearing for the visit of Queens Park Rangers on Saturday while their Brazil midfielder Lucas Leiva is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury suffered in the League Cup win at Chelsea.

Captain Steven Gerrard is making progress after an ankle infection but will not be ready in time as seventh-placed Liverpool look to bounce back from Monday's defeat at Fulham.

Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini (thigh) is doubtful for the trip to Norwich City on Saturday but Argentine forward Jonas Gutierrez returns from suspension.

Sixth-placed United will be definitely without midfielder Danny Guthrie (groin), Cheick Tiote (knee) and Sylvain Marveaux (hip and groin), as well as long-term injured Steven Taylor.

Norwich defender Richie De Laet, who is on loan from Manchester United, has a back injury while James Vaughan, Daniel Ayala and Elliot Ward all miss out with knee problems.

Tottenham Hotspur, who are third, have doubts over the fitness of midfielder Gareth Bale and striker Jermain Defoe (hamstring) ahead of the visit to Stoke City on Sunday.

Club captain Ledley King is unlikely to be fit with manager Harry Redknapp telling reporters: "We're waiting to see how Ledley is. He got a bang on his knee last week, he's doubtful."

Long-term injury victims midfielder Niko Kranjcar and captain Michael Dawson are making progress after thigh and Achilles injuries respectively.

New Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill said he cannot wait to get started as the team he supported as a boy get ready to welcome fellow strugglers Blackburn Rovers on Sunday.

"Another 48 hours to go but I'm looking forward to it as much as I was when I stepped through the gates a few days ago," he told reporters having been appointed last Saturday.