Everton are back in Europe after Saturday's 3-0 home win over Aston Villa. Ligue 1's Lille OSC welcome the Blues to the North of France for the third match day of Europa League's Group H.
Everton got a huge boost in Saturday's win with the return of Ross Barkley and Seamus Coleman. The only players who remain officially injured are Kevin Mirallas and John Stones. Sylvain Distin, James McCarthy, and Steven Pienaar were all questionable before the Aston Villa match, but all three should be available for selection on Thursday. Though Distin has been an injury victim and the subject of controversial rumors of late, he should play in at least one of the next two fixtures. Steven Naismith, Leon Osman and Arouna Kone were all absent from the squad that has travelled to France.
Lille currently sit in eighth place in Ligue 1 with four wins, three draws, and three losses. They qualified for Champions League through a third-place league finish for the 2013-14 season, but were ousted by Porto in the play-off round. The resulting Europa League berth saw Lille drawn into the tough Group H with Everton, Krasnodar, and Wolfsburg. They come into the match against Everton with two points in two games. Lille drew at home with Krasnodar and away with Wolfsburg.
Lille are led by manager Rene Girard. Everton will face another Belgian striker in Divock Origi, after facing Aston Villa's Christian Benteke last Saturday. This will likely be the first of many times the teenage forward will face the Toffees, as Origi was bought by Liverpool this summer. Other impact players include: Danish defender Simon Kjaer, Senegalese midfielder Idrissa Gueye, and Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
What to Watch For
Both teams will be looking for three points out of this match, so expect both to play for the advantage of an early goal. Everton are the stronger team on paper, but both managers will need to be creative with their teams as the two sides have away league matches on Sunday.
Players who normally wouldn't start a Premier League match will likely get some playing time on Thursday. Expect to see Muhamed Besic, Christian Atsu, and Samuel Eto'o in the team for Everton. Ross Barkley, Seamus Coleman, and Romelu Lukaku all played well last Saturday, but Roberto Martinez should use them sparingly with a trip to Burnley on Sunday looming. Tim Howard is a sure bet to start, as Martinez hasn't trusted Joel Robles to play a minute so far this season.
Everton convinced critics that they had put early season woes behind them against Aston Villa, and a win on the road in Europe would do a lot to silence any naysayers.
Time and TV
UK - 6pm, ITV4
USA - 1pm, Fox Sports 1