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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Andy Lewis @efc_andylewis

Everton manager David Moyes says Sylvain Distin, Tim Cahill and Phil Neville remain doubts for the trip to Newcastle.

All three missed last week’s game against Manchester United and the Blues boss admits they will all be checked on ahead of Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at St James’ Park.

He said: “We had three players missing with injury last week. I am not sure if they are going to make it or not but I hope so – we will see how they are in training.”

Everton will definitely be without in-form midfielder Marouane Fellaini who serves a one match suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season last weekend.

One boost for the Blues is the return of Royston Drenthe from suspension following his red card in the League Cup against Chelsea.

The Dutchman has shown flashes of quality since his arrival on loan from Real Madrid – but Moyes wants to see more from the explosive winger.

“He is a great lad about the place and we really enjoy having him here,” he said. “He has a bit more to do on the pitch for us – that is where we really want him to be noticeable. He has had short and small impacts and hopefully that will continue to improve and he will grow longer in the games than what he is doing at present.”

James McFadden could again be on the bench having played 45 minutes for the reserves in midweek, but Moyes is willing to be patient with the Scottish forward.

"We are having to take it steady with James. We can't put double sessions into him and have to take it one at a time and it will be a slower, longer process to get him exactly right.

"But he was on the bench last week and if he was needed to play some part in the game then he would be able to do that. Although if you asked me if he was fully fit and ready then I would have to say 'no'."

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