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

by Andy Lewis @efc_andylewis

Tim Howard believes Everton now boast a team encrusted with match-winners.

The Blues have made a swashbuckling start to the season and currently sit second in the Premier League.

And only Manchester United, who Everton have already beaten, have scored more goals.

Rewind 12 months and David Moyes was bemoaning a lack of firepower.

Not anymore, and Howard insists that is down to the assembly of a forward line to be feared.

“I think our start is down to the quality of players the manager has brought in over the last six months or so,” he said.

“We now have a bunch of players who are comfortable on the ball, who can take the ball and be match-winners. That is something all the top teams have, and we have got a few of them on our team.

“It is important to have the likes of (Nikica) Jelavic and (Steven) Pienaar and (Marouane) Fellaini.

"Kevin Mirallas has come in, too, and sparkled on the wing, so we have a lot of those kind of players, and that is great for us as a team.”

Indeed there is nothing like winning games to foster a positive atmosphere and Howard says there is a genuine buzz at Finch Farm and an extra sharpness in training.

Now it is about sustaining that feel-good factor and the keeper feels there is no reason the seeds sown in this positive start can’t grow into a memorable season.

“Right now the mood is really good,” he added. “It's always pretty good, if I am honest, but right now we just feel like we are in a good rhythm with our performances, and that makes for a good few days of training between matches.

“We are performing well. You don't always get results when you perform well, but more often than not you pick up points when you need to, and that can only be a positive thing.

“I think [the top four is a realistic aim], but we know it is going to be a hard ask as well.

“Having said that, in order for us to do great things, we have to punch above our weight. We are not a huge squad, and we don't have boatloads of money like other clubs, so in order for us to get the job done we have to stay really consistent for quite a few months.

“Is it achievable? Of course it is. We did it a few years back under the manager, though I arrived at the club shortly after that, and this is the best, most talented squad we have had since then for sure.

“We just have to make sure we stay on the grind, keep hunting for those points and pick them up everywhere we can.”

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