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Allardyce ready to hand Tosun an Everton debut at Wembley

January signing expected to start against Tottenham

Everton Training and Press Conference Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

After five months limping along without a senior striker, Everton finally have their man. It’s just a shame their season is effectively over before he even has the chance to pull on a blue shirt.

Cenk Tosun is expected to be handed his debut against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, eight days after his £27m move was Besiktas was confirmed.

His arrival finally plugs a gap in the side that has been vacant since Romelu Lukaku jumped ship to Man Utd in the summer.

The Turkey international has said all the right things since becoming a Toffee, with his never-say-die attitude likely to resonate with a support who always appreciate those who give their all for the cause.

Unfortunately, Everton have exited three cup competitions in the time it has taken them to replace Lukaku, leaving themselves with only mid-table respectability to fight for between now and May.

That’s what made last week’s defeat at Anfield so agonising. Losing to Liverpool is never nice (even if we’re well used to it), but the FA Cup result stung because of the ramifications it had for the rest of the season.

The irony isn’t lost on Evertonians that the team head to Wembley on Saturday eight days after their hopes of returning there in the spring were painfully snatched away.

It also leaves Sam Allardyce in limbo. It seems almost certain that he will achieve his primary objective and keep the club away from danger, but what happens beyond that?

Liverpool v Everton - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

If Big Sam wants to stay beyond this summer then he not only needs to deliver points, he needs to deliver spectacular performances.

In his defence, Allardyce has done what he set out to do and tightened up the leaky backline before switching his attention to the forwards.

With a proper target man on board the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Yannick Bolasie and Wayne Rooney should become more effective, offering an attacking threat that will allow the team to be expansive without compromising defensive solidity.

To that end the season starts now, even if in reality it is a phoney war before we start all over again in the summer.

The opposition

Let’s start with Harry Kane shall we. I freely admit I was one of those who doubted whether the England striker was the real deal when he suddenly started scoring during the 2014-15 season.

I’ve been proven spectacularly wrong.

Everton v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Kane has developed into the perfect, all-round striker, capable of scoring with both feet, with his head, with an eye for goal from distance and a poacher’s instinct from close range.

Everton’s post-Lukaku hangover highlights how important having a goalscorer is to a team and Kane has been the bedrock of Tottenham’s recent success.

Not that they are a one man team, far from it, I’m a huge fan of Mauricio Pochettino and the squad he has built in north London.

Spurs were our peers just a few seasons ago, with both sides smashing their head on the glass ceiling, attempting to break their way into the top four.

But while Everton have slipped back into the pack, Pochettino’s Tottenham have developed into Premier League heavyweights.

Their new state-of-the-art stadium, due to be completed this summer, will further solidify their place in the division’s elite, and make Everton’s task of catching them that much harder.

After an early autumn wobble, the Londoners are now second only to Manchester City in the form table, taking 16 points from their last seven league games, scoring 19 goals.

They have also banished their Wembley hoodoo, winning six and drawing four of their last 10 league matches at the stadium since defeat to Chelsea in August.

The return meeting at Goodison in September was embarrassingly one-sided, arguably one of Tottenham’s easiest wins of the season.

At the very least Everton should put up a bit more of a fight at Wembley on Saturday evening.

Team news

Allardyce has confirmed Cenk Tosun will be included in the squad and is likely to start at Wembley.

Michael Keane remains sidelined though after suffering a reoccurrence of a foot injury.

Idrissa Gueye has recovered from a hamstring injury but Seamus Coleman isn’t yet fit enough to return despite resuming training.

Predicted starting XI

Pickford, Martina, Jagielka, Williams, Kenny, Schneiderlin, Gueye, Rooney, Sigurdsson, Bolasie, Tosun.

Final word

The first sighting of Cenk Tosun in a Blue shirt is the main attraction to this game from a Toffees perspective.

It’s hard to understate just how much we’ve missed Lukaku’s goals, despite the gallant efforts of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is sure to develop into a quality player in the future.

With a focal point in attack things may just click in midfield and with their new-found defensive solidity, who knows?

It’s just a shame even a win on Saturday will count very little in a season where the irrevocable damage has already been done.