John Heitinga believes a refreshed Marouane Fellaini could prove influential when Everton face Newcastle United.
The Belgian midfielder is back in contention for the Blues after completing a three-match suspension for violent conduct.
In the build-up to Wednesday's game, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew spoke about the demanding festive schedule taking its toll on his squad’s energy levels, particularly in the last 20 minutes against Arsenal when the Magpies conceded four goals.
And Heitinga is hoping Fellaini will be eager to make up for lost time with a typically commanding performance, should he be given the nod to play by boss David Moyes.
“He [Fellaini] is important for us. He has played really well for us this season and he is one of our main players,” Heitinga told evertontv.
“We have missed him in the last couple of games but he is doing well and he will be back for the Newcastle game. Hopefully he can surprise everybody by showing that the last couple of weeks off has been good for him!”
Everton have only won twice in their last 11 trips to St James’ Park, but Heitinga is convinced that the Toffees can start to redress the balance.
The 29-year-old was a part of the Everton team that last achieved maximum points on Newcastle’s home patch in March 2011, where goals from Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka helped to earn a 2-1 victory.
“It’s always tough there on a big pitch,” added the Dutch international. “Last season they did really well and this time they haven’t had so many chances to do as well. It will be tough game but we are in good form and hopefully we can continue to do what we did in 2012.
“They lost two games and conceded a lot of goals so they will want to give something back to the fans. But it’s not easy to beat Everton, so we will go there to win.”