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

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

Competition for Wembley places can drive Everton to victory over West Brom, according to midfielder Leon Osman.

The Blues have a massive FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool on the horizon courtesy of Tuesday's superb 2-0 quarter-final replay win at Sunderland.

After the game David Moyes admitted he couldn’t think of a player who hadn’t excelled themselves at the Stadium of Light.

And with the likes of England internationals Phil Jagielka and Jack Rodwell, Victor Anichebe, Seamus Coleman, Royston Drenthe, Tony Hibbert, Denis Stracqualursi and the cup-tied Steven Pienaar all absent from the starting line-up in the North East, Moyes has an abundance of options at his disposal.

Osman was in the starting line-up against the Black Cats and he says desire to be on that all-important Wembley teamsheet can inspire the Blues to new heights in the interim – starting against the Baggies.

"It's all about training hard and trying to perform in these next three league games to get your form up and give yourself a chance of being picked by the manager for the [semi-final]," the midfielder told evertontv. "We've got people now who see a big game around the corner, people coming back from injuries, people already in the team who want to stay in the team and fight for their place.

"This game on Saturday is the start of that battle for contention. There are three games between now and the semi-final and we'll take each one as it comes. The first one is West Brom, there are three points at stake and we'll certainly be going there to take all three.”

Despite no wins in their last three games, the Baggies were previously in good form, recording comprehensive 5-1 and 4-0 victories over Wolves and Sunderland before registering a surprise 1-0 win over Chelsea at the start of March.

"They've been very good on the road this year and they've had some really good victories, so they're coming here confident I'm sure,” added Osman. "They'll be trying to catch us on the back of our midweek victory, so that’s certainly something we'll have to guard against. We'll be going into the game full of confidence and hopefully we'll win."

The Blues have already met Saturday’s opponents twice this season, with Everton coming out on top on both occasions.

David Moyes’ men eeked out a 1-0 win at the Hawthorns on New Year’s Day, having earlier sent Roy Hodgson’s men crashing out of the Carling Cup with a 2-1 third round victory at Goodison Park.  

Despite their recent joy over the Baggies, Osman doesn’t expect prior results to have a bearing this time around.

"I don't think previous games help," said Osman. "We know we're capable of beating them, but we can't say that we've beaten them twice and this is just going to be a walk in the park.

"It's not how football works. You've got to turn up for each game individually, and we'll be going to the game looking to turn up on Saturday.

"We want to be positive and keep our little run of victories going and we'll be going into that game trying to win it."

Tickets for Saturday's game against West Bromwich Albion are still available. To buy yours, call 0871 663 1878 or click here.

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