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Sean Dyche issues Everton rallying cry as fans limber up for another relegation battle

The Toffees boss is under no illusions about the challenge ahead

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

Sean Dyche’s straight talking often sees his managerial style mischaracterised as old-fashioned and unsophisticated. But clarity of thought and a back to basics approach is maybe just what Everton need to dig themselves out of a hole.

Dyche was honest as ever in his news conference previewing Saturday’s huge match against Leeds, with the Whites currently just one point and one place ahead of the Toffees.

The game will be proceeded by another fan protest march against the board, starting at the Royal Oak pub and working its way up Spellow Lane to Goodison.

But, like against Arsenal, the fans will once again - to use Dyche’s phrase - ‘park’ their anger towards the board and back the team during the game.

Asked whether the protests were a distraction to his players, Dyche was typically forthright in his reply, insisting that the fans have every right to voice their anger.

“I don’t think for one minute they are trying to affect any of that.

“I think the noise is a different thing, it’s not about distraction. They are trying to get across their point. I have got to learn more and I haven’t been here to understand the depth of that.

“All I can say is they have been fantastic about the team, fantastic about me being here, which can be a debate point.

“So far they have backed me, the staff and the players. That’s all we can ask for. They still have a voice and they have a right to have a voice. Nobody has a problem with that and I certainly don’t have a problem with that.

“If they can push that voice into the right avenues when the whistle blows, that’s what we’re after and they’ve done it fantastically so far so that’s all I can ask for.”

The battle against the drop is likely going to go down the wire so fine margins could be the difference between survival and relegation.

The power of the Goodison atmosphere is one factor that could haul Everton over the line in certain matches - something Dyche is all too aware of.

The former Burnley boss has called on the fans to make Goodison a “horrible” place to play for visiting fans.

“The home games will be important because of the way Goodison feels. I witnessed it for the right side of being Everton manager at the last home game.

“That is an incredible energy for the players to play with. We’ve got to try to get that feeling ingrained in us as a group so that when we go away we have that internal feeling of the way the crowd are, the feeling of a home stadium, and that mentality.

“It comes over time and the home vibe, the feel at home and the fan feel is massively important. It was a big thing against Arsenal and now we need it in every game and I’m sure Evertonians will be there.

“Our fans will be a big part going forward to make the feeling of the stadium right and to make it a horrible and hard place to play.”

Everton Training Session Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Everton will once again go into the game without Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who picked up a hamstring strain in the win against Arsenal last week.

The England striker had endured a torrid few years, picking up a succession of injuries that has limited him to just 30 appearances across two seasons.

Dyche has revealed the lengths to which the club is going to try and get to the bottom of his injury woes, revealing that sometimes Calvert-Lewin’s desire to help the team has led him to comeback before his body is fully ready.

“I’ve got to learn about his history, his physiological history. I’ve got to learn what his body will and won’t take, which is what we are trying to do now. We’re speaking to him, the medics, the sports scientists, looking at the stats, training programmes, distance covered, high-speed running, how many kms in a week, what’s his diet like, what’s his lifestyle like, what car does he drive, what mattress does he use, how many hours does he sleep a night?

“That’s learning about people. The biggest learning is what is in here [points to his head] and that’s the hard part. I’ll get all the information I can and then share it with him. That’s the process for every player, by the way, not just him.

“I don’t think he’s been properly fit throughout this situation because of his own will and demand to keep playing. Some players don’t realise until afterwards that they’ve put so much demand on themselves and they weren’t quite ready. We have to align the process of getting the injury right and him completely right so that he doesn’t break down and he can keep going. But that’s what you try to do with every player.”