Everton make the short trip north to the Fylde coast to take on League One side Fleetwood in the Carabao Cup second round still seeking their first win of the season.
A tally of one point from three games and the continued failure to sign a striker has made Evertonians twitchy, eroding some of the feel-good factor emanating from their great escape last season.
The fans’ frustration stems from the fact that we have been here before, going late in the window without signing key targets and/or overspending on underperforming players.
But like I said in my Forest preview I believe Frank Lampard and Kevin Thelwell need to be given a chance as this is their first window together. Yes there are lots of rumours but none of those are coming directly from the club so who knows if they are true.
The signings we have made so far all make sense so there is every chance that pattern will continue with attacking players. Everton are still sailing close to the wind with P&L rules so if they have to get close to the deadline in order to secure the best deal then so be it.
With Chelsea rumoured to be making a £50m bid for Anthony Gordon (at time of writing) then the need for reinforcements is even greater.
Meanwhile on the pitch a win would make everyone breathe a little easier. The Toffees have not been that bad in any of their games so far but a lack of cutting edge has cost them dear. Tuesday’s game is the chance to give a few squad players a run out but is still an important game given the lack of positive results so far.
A place in the next round and a new signing or two would suddenly give the side fresh impetus going into the weekend.
It has only been two years since Everton’s last meeting with Fleetwood - a behind closed doors Carabao Cup third round clash in September 2020, but it has been a turbulent time for the club since after back-to-back finishes in the lower reaches of League One.
Manager Joey barton was sacked in January 2021 and the club have since gone through two permanent bosses and one caretaker before Celtic legend Scott Brown took the job in the summer.
Brown, in his first managerial role, has made a solid start, losing just one of his opening six games in charge, including a 1-0 win over Championship side Wigan in the previous round.
Fleetwood 2-5 Everton, September 23, 2020
As mentioned it is just two years since the teams last met in a lively third round encounter. Two goals from Richarlison plus strikes from Alex Iwobi, Bernard and Moise Kean sealed Everton’s place in the fourth round.
Everton are expected to give run outs to players short of minutes so far this season, including new signings Amadou Onana and Ruben Vinagre who are likely to get their first starts.
Captain Seamus Coleman could make his first appearance of the season after recovering from a minor operation over the summer.
What they said
Everton manager Frank Lampard: ”It’s an important game. We’ve got players who are still needing minutes to get up to speed - a couple who played [against Nottingham Forest], a couple who weren’t playing today that will come into the team.
“It can do a lot. There’s not much pointing talking about it too much at this stage but I know it can be a real positive for a team to win it, to get excited about the idea of getting to Wembley - all of those things are a big deal.
“We have to understand that we need to focus on every game and Fleetwood is right in front of us.”
Fleetwood boss Scott Brown: “With Frank [Lampard], he is a player I admire. For me growing up and also playing against him, it was fantastic. He is another young manager, and he is one who messaged me the minute I got this job and sometimes it’s the small details like that, that make it personally and for me it shows he’s a kind-hearted person.
“Our lads are going to cherish the moment on Tuesday, I am going to cherish it but for me it’s about us!”
Everton are in a no-win situation here. Anything other than a comfortable victory would be considered a failure. That is not to say Fleetwood will be easy, but the Toffees should progress if they approach it in the right manner.