MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Brief news ahead of this weekend’s Premier League matches:
* Liverpool will be missing midfielder Raul Meireles for Saturday’s home game against Bolton Wanderers (5:30 p.m. BST) after the Anfield club confirmed he would be out of action for up to a fortnight with a collarbone injury.
The club had feared that Meireles faced a longer lay-off after he was hurt in Wednesday’s League Cup tie at Exeter City but Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish told the club website (www.liverpoolfc.tv): “It’s his collarbone that is damaged but it’s only a week or two. We’ve been quite fortunate with that.”
* Midfielder Darren Fletcher is back in the Manchester United squad for the first time this season for Sunday’s match against Arsenal (4:00 p.m. BST), his manager Alex Ferguson told a news conference on Friday. The Scottish international has appeared only twice for United since early March because of the lingering effects of a debilitating virus but has come through two reserve-team run-outs.
“Darren Fletcher played a game last night which is great news,” Ferguson said. “I think the boy is back now. He had a terrible time but he is now looking terrific. He will be in the squad for Sunday.” Ferguson also confirmed that Rio Ferdinand and Antonio Valencia were back in training but Nemanja Vidic would be absent for another month.
*Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen is “a little doubt” for Sunday’s game, manager Arsene Wenger said on his club’s website (www.arsenal.com). Wenger added that Tomas Rosicky, Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny should be fit to play but Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby remained injured. Emmanuel Frimpong, Gervinho and Alex Song are all suspended.
*Chelsea have their new signing from Spain, Juan Mata, available for the home game against Norwich City on Saturday (3:00 p.m. BST) though he is not expected to start. Manager Andre Villas-Boas told his club website (www.chelseafc.com) that it was too early for the 23-year-old Spaniard to start three days after the completion of his move from Valencia. David Luiz is still missing, together with Petr Cech.
*Manchester City will be without midfielder Nigel de Jong for Sunday’s match against Tottenham (1:30 p.m. BST) as he continues his recovery from the ankle injury suffered in the opening game of the season against Swansea City. Manager Roberto Mancini told a news conference on Friday: “Nigel’s not fit, but I hope he can recover after the national break.”
Samir Nasri will be available to make his debut for City after joining from Arsenal on Wednesday. Emmanuel Adebayor, signed by Spurs on loan from City, will be unable to play against his parent club but Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was quoted in the local press as saying Luka Modric would start, despite having not featured this season because of interest from Chelsea. “He’ll be playing on Sunday for sure,” said Redknapp.
Editing by Clare Fallon