March 2009 Archives
AUSTRALIA head coach Pim Verbeek has hinted he is ready to take a gamble with Everton's most prized asset - and rush Tim Cahill back into action.
Everton's influential midfielder missed the 2-1 defeat at Portsmouth 10 days ago after sustaining a grade one tear of his calf muscle in the 3-1 victory over Stoke on March 14.
In normal circumstances, Cahill would have remained at Finch Farm to receive treatment on the problem but the international break changed the situation.
FIFA rules stipulate international players must be released by their clubs when there are competitive fixtures so they can be assessed by their country's medical staff.
CAST your mind back to the start of the season and think of the sides who you would have picked out as being contenders for relegation.
The promoted clubs? Most definitely. After that, Middlesbrough might have been on your list, maybe Fulham but it's a good bet to say Wigan Athletic would have been among the favourites to go down.
Yet here we are with eight games of the campaign to go and Wigan are making a bold bid to qualify for Europe. That pays the biggest compliment possible to the work that Steve Bruce has done at the JJB stadium.
They are quite similar to Everton, in some respects, in that they are well organised, difficult to beat and adept at taking chances if and when they come along, but I don't suppose even their biggest fan would have had them down as possibles for next year's Europa League - particularly after losing their two best players in January.
HOT young Everton prospect Kieran Agard did his best to spoil John Achterberg's testimonial celebrations at Prenton Park last night.
More than 3,300 supporters turned out to salute the big Dutch goalkeeper, who hates to concede goals in any circumstances.
But 18-year-old Agard, a former Everton Academy player of the year, put two spectacular strikes past Achterberg inside the first 42 minutes as a young Everton side won the main game 3-0.
Centre back Shaun Duffy scored Everton's other goal to settle the outcome long before Achterberg took his bow after an hour.
LOUIS SAHA believes Everton have the quality to finish the season with a flourish and press for Champions League qualification and a place in the FA Cup final.
David Moyes's side face a hectic run-in when they return from this week's international break.
The Goodison outfit are seven points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal with eight games remaining, and face Manchester United in their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on April 19.
Saha is hopeful he has now recovered from a troublesome hamstring problem having started his first game in almost four months in the 2-1 defeat at Portsmouth 10 days ago.
CONOR McALENY'S first-half goal was enough to give Everton under-18s a 1-0 victory at Leeds United on Saturday.
The win extended Neil Dewsnip's side's unbeaten run in the FA Premier Academy League to four matches.
Despite a young line-up featuring several schoolboys players with Jordan Barrow, Tom Donaghan and Adam Cummins making their debuts, Everton were good value for their win.
The winning goal came on 25 minutes as McAleny tapped home from close range following a quick free-kick by Tom McCready and a good cross from Karl Sheppard.
DAVID MOYES today challenged Marouane Fellaini to deliver a towering performance when he returns to Premier League action against Wigan on Sunday.
The Belgian midfielder had a weekend to forget as he was booked during his country's shock 4-2 defeat against Bosnia.
Having been at fault for one of the goals that Peter Crouch scored when Portsmouth beat Everton, Moyes knows that Fellaini's spirits need lifting.
Fellaini will be involved when Belgium face Bosnia again on Wednesday in Zenica before returning to Merseyside to aid the Blues' push for Europe.
By Dominic King
A CENTRAL defender is widely expected to be named PFA Player of the Year next month but his identity could be a huge shock.
Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic has long been favourite to win the award which is voted for by his peers but he could yet face a serious challenge from Everton's Phil Jagielka and that has come as no surprise Phil Neville.
Jagielka will be hoping to win his third England cap this evening in the Wembley friendly against Slovakia and the fact he has a chance of doing so speaks volumes for the way he has responded to a chastening experience last month.
Everton's number six was to blame for the first goal that Spain scored when the European Champions brushed England aside 2-0 in Seville and, for some managers, that might have been enough to end an international career.
Fabio Capello, though, is of a different breed and duly noted that since misplacing the pass from which David Villa profited in El Stadio Ramon Sanchez, Jagielka's efforts have been outstanding - and that's why he could yet run Vidic and Steven Gerrard close in the voting.
DAVID MOYES today hailed the exceptional form that has given Leighton Baines a chance to win his first England cap this weekend.
The Everton defender will be in Fabio Capello's squad for tomorrow's friendly against Slovakia, along with team-mates Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott.
But as Chelsea's Ashley Cole is the only other recognised left-back in the 23-man party, Baines has an outstanding chance of getting some minutes on the pitch at Wembley.
Should that be the case, it will complete a remarkable turnaround in his fortunes as four months ago Baines could not even get in Everton's first team.
IT'S always important to have your best players tied down to long contracts, so it's no surprise Everton are ready to open talks with Joseph Yobo.
He has experienced a funny season in that he has missed a number of games through injury but he has looked a million dollars when Everton have been able to get him on the pitch.
With only a year left on his current deal, the Blues could not run the risk of him potentially walking away for nothing and it makes sense to protect your asset.
But, more than that, if Everton are going to continue building in the future, they need players of Yobo's quality.
CAMPAIGNERS against Everton's proposed move to Kirkby are challenging the club to a Question Time style debate.
Keep Everton In Our City (KEIOC) say such an event would allow their representatives, together with those from Everton and Liverpool city council, to answer the questions to which supporters need answers.
KEIOC spokesman Dave Kelly said: "With a known 40% of supporters in opposition and a move that will take them further away from the local regional centre than any other premiership club, we are concerned that Kirkby represents the greatest gamble in the history of Everton Football Club."
He said a public debate would give an opportunity for many concerns to be aired following the recent 11-week public inquiry into the proposal for a new stadium and superstore put forward by Everton and Tesco. These include: