Everton will be aiming to keep their European dream alive when they host Fulham on Saturday.
David Moyes’ side have failed to win their past two in the league – hence falling out of contention for the UEFA Champions League, and are five points off Tottenham in fifth.
Everton must overhaul Spurs to gain entry into next season’s UEFA Europa League, but with just four games left that appears an unlikely outcome, especially with the London club having a game in hand.
However, it is the only meaningful thing either side has to play for at Goodison Park – with Fulham dwelling in 11th position on 40 points.
Moyes conceded the continent’s second-tier competition was their only goal in the run-in.
“We are going to try and qualify for the Europa League,” he said.
“As soon as we lose a game then everyone is going to say ‘Everton can’t make the Champions League’ and they are probably right but the points total we can still get could still get us there.
“But with the people we are trying to overtake that becomes really difficult. But it is a good effort that we are still talking about Champions League in mid-April.”
Fulham have only scored once in their last four matches and Martin Jol’s men have little left to play for but pride.
Compounding things for the London club is the suspension of midfielder Steve Sidwell, who was sent off in their loss to Arsenal last time out – incurring a three-match ban.
Damien Duff (groin), Mahamadou Diarra (knee) and Ashkan Dejagah (ankle) will all miss out, while Sascha Riether is in line to return from an ankle injury.
Phil Jagielka (ankle), Darron Gibson (hip) and Victor Anichebe (hamstring) should all be absent from Moyes’ matchday squad, however Tony Hibbert (calf) can come into contention after recovering from injury.
Fulham’s history on Merseyside, and against Everton overall, has been poor.
The Cottagers last beat their upcoming opponents in September 2009, but have beaten them in a top-flight fixture away from home.
In the Premier League era, Fulham have failed to take even a point from a trip to Everton in 12 visits.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!