The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.
TIM HOWARD will be recalled to Everton’s starting line-up at Goodison Park on Saturday, as he closes in on one of the Blues’ most enduring records.
The consistent keeper, rested for Tuesday’s dispiriting League Cup defeat at Leeds, is in line to make his 190th consecutive appearance in the Premier League against Southampton.
And that puts him within sight of Neville Southall’s long playing record of 212 back to back league appearances, which ended when the legendary goalkeeper was suspended in 1993.
Howard has been rested for occasional League Cup and Europa League ties, but in top flight football has been ever-present since September 2007 when a finger injury forced him to miss four matches and Stefan Wessels deputised.
But Southall, back in town this evening for the launch of his autobiography The Binman Chronicled at the Epstein Theatre (6.30pm), can’t understand why clubs feel the need to rest goalkeepers.
“I hated missing games,” he said. “I used to have a row with Colin Harvey and Howard Kendall if they ever wanted to leave me out, because you’d lose a bit of momentum.
“I liked to stay in the zone.
“When I looked at the game against Leeds on TV I was looking to see if it was Tim playing, then thinking ‘Why have they left him out?’
“It’s pointless. Outfield players I can understand, but once a goalkeeper gets in that groove you want to leave him in there.
“If you’re number one, you’re number one and it’s up to you to play yourself out of that position.
“I hated missing any game, even a Simod Cup tie against Millwall with 3,000 inside Goodison because I was looking forward to playing in a young team.
“I think Howard Kendall left me out because he didn’t want to be in the competition anyway!”
Since his debut in August 2006, Tim Howard has missed just four of Everton’s 233 Premier League matches.
It’s a record nearly as impressive as Southall’s – that Simod Cup tie in 1988 the only match he missed in a six-year, 281 game spell.
But to achieve such a long-playing record, keepers regularly have to play through the pain barrier.
“I had to play with injuries lots of times, just as Tim will have done, added Southall.
“On one occasion at Middlesbrough I had a problem with my back and couldn’t move. They injected me four times before the game, another four times at half-time, then on the Monday I went to hospital where they gave me an epidural . . . and I played on Tuesday.
“Something in my back was out of line and putting the epidural in re-aligned it with a ping.
“The downside was that I wasn’t supposed to drive – and I had driven there.
“Coming out I couldn’t feel my legs which was hard enough trying to walk in a straight line, let alone drive!”
Southall is a firm admirer of Howard.
“Tim’s a good goalkeeper,” he added.
“His distribution could be better. Sometimes he kicks it too high and too far, which is okay when you’ve got Fellaini on the end of it but not always.
“But other than that he’s a very good keeper.
“I think he’s done well and he’s improved since he’s been at the club.”
Howard will be hoping to maintain that improvement on Saturday against Southampton.
After the disappointment of Tuesday’s Cup exit, the US international insists the Blues can focus on their Premier League challenge, and believes a top four finish is achievable.
“We have a limited budget compared to everyone else so competing is tough, but I believe we can earn a Champions League place if we can put together a run like we did from Christmas to the end of last season,” he says. “That is what we will deem a success, and our consistency will be key.”
And he believes the Blues’ unique team-spirit will help them bounce back from their midweek misery.
“This is such a hardworking, no-nonsense team, as blue-collar as it comes,” he added.
“Everyone respects us. Supporters of other clubs always tell me they cheer for Everton when their team is not playing.
“I can say this hand on heart: You will not find a more committed bunch of guys in Europe.
“There is no arrogance like at other clubs I have belonged to. Here, there are zero egos. You simply won't find that anywhere else. We all really love playing for this team.”
NEVILLE SOUTHALL is conducting a question and answer session at the Epstein Theatre (the old Neptune Theatre) tonight to launch his autobiography (6.30pm-8.30pm). Tickets are £8 on the door.
EVERTON FC legend Kevin Sheedy who needed bowel cancer surgery today said his life had been saved through early detection.
The club confirmed this morning that the former player’s operation had been “successful” and that he is “recovering well”.
Sheedy, the coach of the Blues under 18s team at Finch Farm, had his surgery back in August.
The tumour, which was at an early stage, in addition to lymph glands that were removed have subsequently tested ‘all clear’ which means that he will not require any further treatment.
Sheedy, 52, repeated his plea for people who suspected they too could have bowel cancer to get checked.
And he also revealed how the cancer had rocked his own family, taking the life of his mum two years ago and also affecting his dad.
He said: “I will need regular checks to monitor my recovery. My symptoms were blood in my stools and a change in my bowel habits because I was always on the toilet.
“My mother died of bowel cancer two years ago and my father is in remission after a successful operation seven years ago.”
The former Everton and Republic of Ireland midfielder is now recuperating at home. He says his prompt diagnosis was absolutely vital to the success of his treatment.
Sheedy added: “I would strongly urge anybody who has concerns to go immediately to their GP.
“My life has been saved through early detection and I am told that over 90% who are diagnosed at the earliest stage are successfully treated.
“Don’t be embarrassed to go otherwise you could die of that embarrassment.”
Since being diagnosed with the potentially life-threatening disease, Sheedy has been moved by the sheer volume of support he has received from people both inside and outside of football, adding: “I would like to say a massive thank-you to everybody who sent me messages of support, which I got from all over the world.
“It was very touching and really helped me to deal with my situation knowing that so many people were rooting for me.
“It would be impossible for me to personally reply to everybody but I would like to make special mention of my surgeon Mr Skaife, all of his staff and the staff on Ward 4 at Aintree Hospital who gave me the best treatment and support that I could ever have wished for.”
Messages can still be sent to Kevin via the email address.
JOHN HEITINGA admits Everton owe their supporters a performance against Southampton on Saturday after their Capital One Cup calamity.
David Moyes’s side saw their most likely chance of silverware dashed at the second hurdle with a disappointing 2-1 third round loss at npower Championship side Leeds United on Tuesday night.
Almost 5,000 supporters made the trek along the M62 in treacherous conditions only to see a much-changed Goodison outfit fail to take advantage of their excellent early-season form.
Everton will look to strengthen their grip on third place in the Premier League when Southampton visit at the weekend.
And Heitinga said: "We need to bounce back now not only for ourselves but especially for the fans.
"There were 5,000 Evertonians in the stadium at Leeds and the support was really good.
"We were the ones who lost the game, not them.
"It was the shortest way to get a prize, but now we are out of the competition we need to focus on the league.
"We can’t dwell on this game.
"I don’t think it’s going to be so easy against Southampton.
"It’s always hard when you are in the top division."
Moyes is expected to recall the likes of Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Phil Neville, Steven Pienaar, Nikica Jelavic and Tim Howard to the starting line-up against the Saints.
And Heitinga is convinced Tuesday’s surprise reverse will not halt Everton’s Premier League momentum.
"We need to focus on the next couple of games and need to bounce back now," added the Dutchman.
"The confidence is still in the team.
"We’ve played some good football in the last couple of months and we are near the top of the league and we want to stay there."
Moyes made six changes for the trip to Elland Road, handing full debuts to Costa Rica left-back Bryan Oviedo and young Portuguese midfielder Francisco Junior.
And he accepts he may not have altered the team as much had he known the performance his team would produce.
"I regret making six changes because we are out of the cup," said Moyes.
"But if you look at the players that came in, you could argue that some of them could have been starting the last three or four Premier League games."
Tickets are still available for Saturday’s home game against Southampton, priced at £31 for adults and half-price for juniors.
Supporters wanting to buy a ticket can call 0871 663 1878, visit evertonfc.com/eticketing or drop into the Box Office at Goodison Park.
They can also now buy tickets from TicketQuarter in Queen Square or the brand new ticket kiosk at Everton Two in Liverpool One.
Meanwhile, Everton fans can share a coffee with Everton legend Graeme Sharp on Friday and help to raise funds for people affected by cancer.
Everton in the Community is hosting a coffee morning is part of MacMillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning campaign, and local residents can drop into Gwladys Street School from 9am-10:30am on Friday to enjoy coffee, cake and a chat with the the club’s leading post-war goalscorer.
Sharp said: "Undoubtedly, cancer has touched everybody in some way so it’s important that we do what we can to raise money to help those affected.
"This is a really simple way to raise a lot of money so I hope lots of people get behind it."
FORMER Republic of Ireland football star Kevin Sheedy has revealed his bowel cancer surgery was a success.
Sheedy, famous for scoring Ireland's equaliser against England during the Italia '90 World Cup, took time out from his recovery at home to urge people to visit a doctor if they showed any unusual symptoms.
The former Everton midfielder, who is now coaching the club's under-18 squad, believes early detection of his bowel cancer saved his life.
Both the early-stage tumour and the lymph glands removed during surgery have tested 'all clear'. This means he won't require any further treatment.
"I would strongly urge anybody who has concerns to go immediately to their GP," the talented soccer star, who earned 45 caps and scored nine goals as an Irish international, said.
After recuperating at his UK home, he is expected to return to coaching at Everton.
"My life has been saved through early detection and I am told that over 90pc who are diagnosed at the earliest stage area successfully treated.
"Don't be embarrassed to go. Otherwise you could die of that embarrassment."
Welsh-born Sheedy said he would need regular check-ups to monitor his recovery. "My symptoms were blood in my stools and a change in my bowel habits because I was always on the toilet," he revealed.
"My mother died of bowel cancer two years ago and my father is in remission after a successful operation seven years ago."
The former player became a household name with the successful Everton team of the mid-1980s, scoring 97 goals for the Toffees.
Sheedy also ensured the Irish side went on to the quarter-finals of Italia '90 after he stepped up and scored a dramatic equaliser when Ireland were 1-0 down to England after a goal by Gary Lineker.
The Welsh-born player was eligible for Ireland as his father originally hailed from Co Clare.
The 52-year-old has been moved by the volume of support he has received inside and outside of the football community
"I would like to say a massive thank you to everybody who sent me messages of support, which I got from all over the world," he said.
Bowel cancer is the second biggest cancer killer in Ireland for both men and women -- claiming more than 900 deaths each year.