Stoke and Man City wait on injuries

MANCHESTER - Brief news ahead of this weekend's Premier League matches and the FA Cup Final.

Stoke City winger Matthew Etherington (hamstring) and defender Robert Huth (knee) are doubts for Saturday's FA Cup Final against Manchester City, the club said.

Defender Danny Higginbotham and striker Ricardo Fuller have already been ruled out of the club's first appearance in the Wembley showpiece.

"We have had a bad run of injuries over the past few weeks which is frustrating but it didn't hamper us on Sunday when we beat Arsenal," Stoke manager Tony Pulis said on the club website referring to their 3-1 Premier League win.

Manchester City will give captain Carlos Tevez a late fitness test before the FA Cup Final when the world's richest club will be trying to win their first silverware for 35 years, manager Roberto Mancini told a news conference.

The striker came on for the last few minutes in the midweek 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur that secured a top-four finish after missing nearly a month with a hamstring problem.

Manchester United, who will clinch a record 19th English league title with a point at Blackburn Rovers, will rest goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar but otherwise field their strongest side, manager Sir Alex Ferguson told a news conference.

Midfielder Darren Fletcher, facing a race against time to get himself into contention for the May 28 Champions League Final against Barcelona after spending two months sidelined with a virus, should play some part against Blackburn, Ferguson said.

Arsenal, who have Manchester City breathing down their necks in the battle for third place and automatic qualification to the group stage of the Champions League, are struggling with several injuries before hosting Aston Villa on Sunday.

Midfielders Abou Diaby and Tomas Rosicky and defender Laurent Koscielny have been ruled out, while captain Cesc Fabregas and midfielder Samir Nasri face late fitness tests, manager Arsene Wenger told a news conference.

Koscielny's absence opens the door for Thomas Vermaelen to make his first appearance after nine months out with Wenger saying: "I have not completely decided yet but there is a probability he will start."

Second-placed Chelsea, whose 2-1 defeat by Manchester United last week made it highly unlikely they will hold on to their title, host Newcastle United on Sunday aiming to finish on a high in their last home match of the season.

Captain John Terry has shaken off a knock he picked up at Old Trafford.

"Wayne Rooney caught me in the top of my hip quite early in the game so I had a scan on Monday but I am totally fine," he told Chelsea TV. "I just have a bit of bruising and it is okay now and I will be okay for the weekend."

Tottenham Hotspur will be without several injured defenders for the trip to Liverpool on Sunday although club captain Ledley King could make a surprise return.

Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, William Gallas, Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Vedran Corluka are all sidelined along with midfielders Gareth Bale, Tom Huddlestone and Jermaine Jenas.

Liverpool will clinch fifth and a Europa League spot if they win but Spurs are still in contention and manager Harry Redknapp said: "We want that fifth place now if we can make it."

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina looks likely to stay at Anfield after media reports earlier in the season that he wanted to leave, saying that Kenny Dalglish's permanent appointment as manager on Thursday pointed to a brighter future.

"We are heading in the right direction and we are optimistic," he said on the club website before Liverpool host Spurs.

"I have always said (I am looking forward to next season). Of course there was a bit of doubt back in December and January because we were not even close to where we are now."

Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez has left his players in no doubt of the importance of Sunday's match against against fellow relegation candidates West Ham United.

With two matches left, Wigan are second from bottom and three points above basement club West Ham.

"It's a key moment in our history, it's a big big game," Roberto Martinez told a news conference.