Previews: Kranjcar crocked, King could feature

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

Tottenham Hotspur's injury-hit defender Ledley King could make a rare back-to-back appearance for the club against league leaders Chelsea on Saturday, after a superb performance in the 2-1 midweek win over Arsenal.

Midfielder Niko Kranjcar's season is over, however, with torn ankle ligaments, while fellow Croatian international Vedran Corluka is sidelined with an ankle injury. Wilson Palacios is still suspsended.

Kranjcar was injured in a tackle by former Spurs midfielder Michael Brown during extra time and manager Harry Redknapp told a news conference it was amazing the Croatian had managed to finish the match with Tottenham having used all their substitutes.

"How he played on I'll never know. His ankle came up like a balloon. It's a bit of a mess. He is out for the season. The courage he showed was unbelievable really."

Kranjcar will see a specialist on Monday and Spurs are also without Kranjcar's international team-mate Corluka.

The defender is sidelined by an ankle injury that required pain-killing injections on the Wembley pitch last Sunday. His ankle has been placed in a protective boot for 10 days to restrict any movement.

"I couldn't even pick a team (at the moment)," Redknapp said. "We have lost another couple of key players this morning. One has a virus and one has done a groin (in training)," he added without identifying who else was doubtful for a match Spurs need to win in their bid to finish fourth.

Chelsea, who are four points clear of Manchester United in the league with four games remaining, could rest full-back Paulo Ferreira following the return to fitness of Branislav Ivanovic. Ashley Cole is also ready to return after recovering from a fractured ankle and is set to start on the substitutes' bench.

NEWS: Cole ready for Chelsea return

Second-placed Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will give late fitness tests to trio Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs ahead of Saturday's local derby at Manchester City.

"It's a pivotal week of the season for four teams - ourselves, Manchester City, Chelsea and Spurs. Being selfish, we obviously hope that we and Spurs both win," Ferguson told the club website.

City manager Roberto Mancini could be boosted by the return from injury of midfield duo Stephen Ireland and Patrick Vieira and fullback Wayne Bridge, while Pablo Zabaleta is available after suspension.

Meanwhile, United midfielder Paul Scholes has signed a new one-year contract keeping him at Old Trafford until June 2011.

Mid-table Stoke City will be without Ryan Shawcross and Mamady Sidibe for Saturday's home match with Bolton Wanderers, while striker Ricardo Fuller and winger Matthew Etherington are doubtful with injuries.

"We won't be taking any risks with Ryan, he is too important to this club, while Mama is on the mend, but it more likely to be fit for Chelsea," Stoke manager Tony Pulis told the club website.

Sam Allardyce's Blackburn Rovers will be without injured defender Christopher Samba for the visit of in-form Everton on Saturday.

The central defender has not recovered from a groin strain but Martin Olsson and Brett Emerton are expected to be fit, Rovers said on their website.

Third-placed Arsenal are likely to have lost injured defender Thomas Vermaelen for the remainder of the season and will assess the fitness of midfielder Denilson ahead of Sunday's trip to lowly Wigan Athletic.

Fit-again Dutch forward Robin van Persie could feature from the start after impressing in his midweek substitute appearance against Spurs.

"We have to check him today and we see how he responds to that. It was a massive gamble as he had not played. But we'll see how he is and hopefully he'll get a few games now," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told the club website.

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