Everton will host Aston Villa on Saturday in another key game for Sean Dyche’s side as they continue their attempts to clamber their way to safety on Saturday. Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s absence has severely hampered the Blues’ efforts with the new manager having tried both Neal Maupay and Ellis Simms as sole striker with little success.
Of the two goals the Toffees have scored in the three matches since Dyche took over, both have been scored by defenders and Everton will really need to start getting some of their midfielders and forwards contributing. The last time they scored more than once in a game was back in the end of October when they beat Crystal Palace 3-0 at Goodison Park, going five games without scoring and bagging just once in eight games.
Speaking during his pre-match press conference today ahead of Villa’s visit this weekend, Dyche gave an update on DCL -
“I think he’s building up well. He’s on the grass - he’s not with us [in full training] yet but that will come quite quickly, I think.
“Like I said, with human bodies there’s no absolute definite but our intention is to get him as fit as possible so we can hopefully break this spell of ins and outs and ups and downs with injuries.
“That’s what we’re hoping to do, whilst also making sure we have him back as quick as possible because we want all players - not just him - available.”
Dynamic midfielder Amadou Onana left the win last weekend against Leeds United with what looked like a knee issue, but is fit and available for selection on Saturday.
James Garner and Nathan Patterson played with the Under-21s as they stepped up their conditioning work after recovering from injuries, though the fullback appears to have had a minor setback which has slightly delayed his return.
Winger Andros Townsend was expected back early 2023, and Dyche had an update on his status as he recovers from an ACL injury.
“His knee still needs a bit of care and a bit of time, with the workload on it. It’s about finding that balance but he’s going okay. We’ve just got to make sure that it’s right.
“He’s been through a lot but it’s settling down and it’s beginning to get that workload that he needs, obviously, to get it stronger, but he’s not there yet.”
All indications are that we will have an unchanged line-up for this weekend’s game, with likely the same squad available to Dyche as he attempts to make it three home wins in a row.