Everton have had a difficult few days with yet more charges being filed against the club under the guise of Profit & Sustainability Rules (PSR) and the takeover by US-based 777 Partners continuing to look doomed. While there was welcome respite in the shape of FA Cup progress following a third round replay win over Crystal Palace, more bad news was just behind.
Speaking after the dour 1-0 win set-up by a fantastic freekick from Andre Gomes, manager Sean Dyche confirmed that Abdoulaye Doucoure and Seamus Coleman had been held out of tonight’s fixture with hamstring injuries.
“Seamus hopefully not too long term and Doucs maybe a little bit longer.
“Just a hamstring injury. It’s the other leg. Seamus is the same, just a minor hamstring. We hope they settle down but it’s too early.”
While the Blues do have cover at the right back position in the form of Nathan Patterson and Ashley Young (who is also still injured), it is the midfielder who is almost irreplaceable for the Toffees.
Everton’s top scorer this season with six goals, the Malian international has already missed time with a hamstring ailment which saw the Blues go through a barren late December, and now though they have about two weeks off with the staggered winter break, the fixtures will come thick and fast after that.
And for those still in doubt about how crucial Doucoure is for the Blues’ chances of success on the pitch, let this sink in - Everton have won only three games without Doucoure in the lineup since he signed for the club.