Premier League Previews: Rooney sidelined

LONDON - Brief news before this weekend's Premier League matches:

Manchester United, who can go top of the Premier League with victory at Bolton on Saturday, will be without striker Wayne Rooney who suffered a hamstring injury after scoring the winning goal against Wigan Athletic on Wednesday.

Rooney, who is likely to be out for three weeks, joins defenders Patrice Evra (ankle), Rio Ferdinand (back), Wes Brown (ankle) and midfielder Owen Hargreaves (knee) on the unavailable list.

After missing Chelsea's third-round FA Cup replay against Southend United on Wednesday with a calf strain, Portugal defender Ricardo Carvalho is available for Saturday's home game against Stoke City.

Manager Luis Felipe Scolari also said French midfielder Florent Malouda and Ivorian striker Didier Drogba would be available, with Deco (calf) set to miss out.

England international Joe Cole will be missing after suffering a knee injury on Wednesday. Scolari has yet to learn how long Cole will be absent.

Arsenal will give a fitness test to midfielder Alex Song before their trip to Hull City on Saturday. The Cameroon international has not played since the 2-2 draw at Aston Villa last month because of a thigh injury.

Hull are likely to give a debut to Kevin Kilbane who signed from Premier League rivals Wigan Athletic on Thursday, possibly in place of George Boateng who could be out for up to three months with a knee injury.

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres thinks he is ready for a return to the starting line-up for the leaders' Merseyside derby against Everton on Monday.

The Spaniard tore his hamstring against Olympique Marseille in the Champions League in November but following two substitute appearances against Stoke City and Preston in the FA Cup he told the club's website: "I have worked for a long time with the physios and I think I can now play more than 45 minutes and start in the first 11."

Manchester City welcome back record signing Robinho after an ankle injury for their home match with Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

England full-back Wayne Bridge should make his debut after his move from Chelsea but Shaun Wright-Phillips faces a fitness test on his injured hamstring.

Sunderland will be without suspended midfielder Steed Malbranque for the visit of fourth-placed Aston Villa on Saturday but they welcome back defender Phil Bardsley who has recovered from a virus.

Bottom club West Bromwich Albion are likely to give a debut to on-loan AS Nancy striker Marc-Antoine Fortune in place of the suspended Roman Bednar for Saturday's visit of fellow strugglers Middlesbrough who have not won in nine league games.


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