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Premier League preview: Everton v West Brom

New signing Leroy Fer could make his debut for Everton as they host West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old defensive midfielder is close to agreeing personal terms and passing a medical which will seal his 8.5-million-pound transfer from Dutch club FC Twente.

West Brom have also been busy on the transfer front, rejecting a bid from QPR for striker Peter Odemwingie.

It was the second bid from Harry Redknapp’s side for the Nigerian attacker, who has indicated his desire to leave West Brom.

With West Brom sitting in eighth place in the Premier League, the distraction will be unwelcome as they attempt to push on for a European qualification spot – a campaign which has stuttered with the Steve Clarke’s men on a three-game winless run stretching back to a 2-1 win over QPR on Boxing Day.

Everton are in the hunt for a Champions League berth in fifth position – trailing fourth-placed Tottenham by three points.

David Moyes’s side have had two consecutive goalless draws against Swansea and Southampton and will be hoping top-scorer Marouane Fellaini (8) fires, having not scored since the 1-1 draw against Manchester City on December 2.

Target-man Nikica Jelavic is also struggling to find the back of the net with his scoreless streak dating back to December 10.

West Brom have conceded seven goals in their last three games and Clarke will be hoping his defence can replicate the form which saw them keep five clean-sheets in the back half of 2012.

Moyes has some selection headaches with Kevin Mirallas (hamstring), Seamus Coleman (thigh), Darron Gibson (hip) and Tony Hibbert (calf) all in doubt, while West Brom are likely to be missing Steven Reid (calf), Shane Long (hip), Marc-Antoine Fortune (hamstring) and Claudio Yacob (shoulder).

Clarke’s side overcame Everton 2-0 when the two teams last met at the Hawthorns in September thanks to goals from Long and Gareth McAuley with Everton only managing two shots on target.

Since the last draw in May 2006, Everton have won five of the eight clashes between the two sides.

Tue 29 January, 2013
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