Everton are hinting at being on the up.
But a tricky period of fixtures is on the horizon, so the Blues need to carry their existing momentum as far as it can go.
Unfortunately, Sean Dyche revealed some concerning team news ahead of Saturday’s trip to Selhurst Park. So how might the Blues line up?
Amadou Onana was a surprise absentee last week, and there was worse news in the update from Dyche in the pre-match conference.
Although Onana hasn’t been ruled out for this one, Jarrad Branthwaite and Abdoulaye Doucoure have joined him as major doubts for this one as face the age-old “late fitness test” ahead of this game.
None are long-term concerns and all three were spotted in training on Thursday, but Branthwaite is nursing a “knock”, Doucoure has been sick and Onana has a calf issue.
Seamus Coleman has played twice for the under-21s this week, as he looks to build up his fitness following a knee injury. He won’t start here, but there’s a chance he could be on the bench if the Blues are short on numbers.
Dele and Andre Gomes remain the only certain absentees.
EVERTON SQUAD AVAILABLE VS BRIGHTON
Goalkeepers: Pickford, Virginia, Lonergan,
Defenders: Keane, Godfrey, Branthwaite, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Coleman (DOUBT), Patterson, Young
Midfielders: Doucoure (DOUBT), Onana (DOUBT), Gueye, Garner, Onyango,
Gomes (INJURED), Dele (INJURED)
Wingers: McNeil, Danjuma, Dobbin, Harrison
Attackers: Calvert-Lewin, Beto, Chermiti
Tactics and Formation
My hope that is that Branthwaite and Doucoure will be ready to play for this one, as they’ve both been training, although resting Onana may be wise considering it’s a muscle problem and there is an international break coming up to help him recover (especially if we say he’s not fit to take part).
The Blues are also very light on numbers in the middle of the park, so Doucoure or Onana really do need to come through or the Blues will have to reshape.
Apart from a few doubts, the rest of Everton’s team basically picks itself – with the only bone of contention at the moment being between fan’s choice, Patterson, and the gaffer’s experienced preference, Young.
It’ll probably be Young.
Starters (likelihood of starting rated out of 10)
Jordan Pickford – 10/10
Ashley Young – 6/10
Vitalii Mykolenko - 8/10
James Tarkowski – 9/10
Jarrad Branthwaite – 6/10
Abdoulaye Doucoure – 6/10
Idrissa Gana Gueye - 7/10
James Garner – 9/10
Jack Harrison – 8/10
Dwight McNeil – 8/10
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – 8/10