Next Match:

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

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.

Daily Mail

Watford want to take Everton midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger on loan until the end of the season.
Hornets manager Gianfranco Zola is keen to bolster his promotion-chasing squad before tomorrow’s emergency loan deadline.

And the Championship club, who are two points adrift of the automatic promotion places, have opened talks over their interest in the former Germany international.
Hitzlsperger, 30, joined the Toffees in October after being released by Wolfsburg – and has made nine appearances for David Moyes’ side since his arrival.
The central midfielder is no stranger to English football, having had spells at Aston Villa and West Ham.

Watford already have 11 players on loan, much to the irritation of the Football League and rival managers.
League bosses are determined to protect the integrity of their competition after Watford flooded their squad with loan players.
In an attempt to prevent Watford owner Gino Pozzo, who has stakes in Udinese in Italy and Granada in Spain, exploiting the system next season, the League will impose severe restrictions on signings.
Watford have seven players on loan from Udinese and two from Granada as well as Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea) and Geoffrey Bia (Standard Liege).

Daily Express (new)

LIVERPOOL are set to face competition for the signing of Valencia left-back Aly Cissokho after Tottenham and Everton expressed their interest in the player.

According to Portuguese sports paper A Bola, Spurs and the Toffees are 'at the forefront' of the clubs interested in the French international.

Cissokho switched from Lyon to Valencia last summer to replace full-back Jordi Alba who joined Barcelona, and he has attracted suitors from the Premier League this season.

Tottenham, Everton and Liverpool are set to strengthen their defences in the summer, and are thought to be considering Cissokho.

The 25-year-old has never hidden his desire to play in England, and having become disillusioned with his lack of regular starts at Valencia he could leave the Mestalla at the end of the season.

"In the second part of the season I don't have as much playing time, unlike the first," said Cissokho.

"Are English clubs my future? I am proud that my name is matched with these clubs but I'm fine here. I just hope to play more."

Daily Mirror

Andy Wilkinson claims Stoke refuse to feel sorry for themselves as they battle to cure their travel sickness.

The Potters head to Everton on Saturday, having won just one of their last 24 Premier League away games and suffered the anguish of losing to a stoppage-time goal at Newcastle in their last match on the road.

Wilkinson insists Stoke are over that shattering loss and claims Tony Pulis' players believe they can end their slump at Goodison Park.

"The dressing room doesn't feel like that so we can be positive for Saturday and hopefully go for the result," said the no-nonsense defender.

"There have been things that haven't gone our way, but that is football and they even themselves out over the season.

"We just need to put it to bed and get the win this weekend."

Daily Star

STEVEN NAISMITH insists Scotland’s players are battling for their international careers.

Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat to Serbia meant they became the first team in Europe to have no mathematical chance of qualifying for next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil.

Gordon Strachan’s men have yet to win in a dismal campaign which has seen them collect just two points from six games.

Home and away meetings with Croatia lie ahead along with a visit from Belgium and a trip to Macedonia.

Everton striker Naismith said: “We’ve got very tough games but the players are playing for their future international careers.

“I said earlier in the week that we’ve got to grow up, in terms of digging in and being mature about when we need to sit in and soak up the pressure and when we need to expand and try to go for the goals.

“As players, that’s what you need to do or you’re going to find yourself out of the national team. The statistics don’t lie.”

A second-half double from Serbia striker Filip Duricic made it another miserable few days for the Scots after their 2-1 home defeat by Wales.

Midfielder Charlie Adam said: “In the end, they took the chances they had.

“We had a couple of chances in the second half that we probably could have done better with.

“We are bitterly disappointed that we didn’t get anything out of the game because I thought we played well.

“The pitch was bad but we can’t make that an excuse. It was the same for both teams.

“We are disappointed with the results we’ve had in the last two games and it’s just been a bitterly disappointing campaign.”

The Echo

SHANE DUFFY admits he will evaluate his Everton FC future over the summer – as the Republic of Ireland Under-21s captain hopes for more first-team football.
The Blues defender has made just three substitute appearances for David Moyes’ side so far this season, although he remains part of his manager’s long-term plans.
However Duffy, who has previously had loan spells at Burnley and Scunthorpe United, suspects he will have to review his chances when the current season has ended.
He said: “I’ve still got three years left on my Everton contract, but I need to be playing games. We’ll see in the summer.”
Duffy was speaking following his international side’s defeat by Portugal in Dundalk, when he was also asked about Darron Gibson’s international exile.
While Duffy craves a return to the senior set-up, which he first inhabited as a 17-year-old, his fellow Derry-born player has refused call-ups by Giovanni Trapattoni since being left on the bench during last summer’s Euro finals.
“It’s Darron’s decision, but we all want him back, don’t we?” said Duffy. “He’s talked to the manager (Trapattoni) recently. I don’t know what was said, but, obviously, he doesn’t want to be involved at the minute. I’m not going to try to get him back. I need to get myself involved first.”
Meanwhile, Watford have been linked with a loan move for Everton midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger until the end of the season.
Hornets manager Gianfranco Zola is keen to bolster his promotion-chasing squad before today’s emergency loan deadline.
And the Championship club are reported to have asked Everton about the former Germany international’s availability.
Hitzlsperger, 30, joined the Toffees in October after being released by Wolfsburg – and has made nine appearances side since his arrival.
It is unlikely, however, that Moyes will sanction the departure of anyone from his already small squad.

The Echo

PHIL JAGIELKA has warned Stoke City to expect an attack-minded Everton FC as the Blues bid to blow away opponents in their race for Europe.
The Toffees last nine games of the season have already been described as ‘cup finals’ by John Heitinga, as David Moyes’ men focus on the stern task of reaching the top four ahead of Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool.
And vice-captain Jagielka – who only has an outside chance of being fit for tomorrow’s game - believes Moyes may be inclined to send out his side with all guns blazing, as Tony Pulis’ Potters represent the first of their challengers at Goodison on Saturday afternoon.
He said: “We need to win games now. If we were to draw I’m not saying it would be the end of the season but we have to go out ultra-positive and really take it to teams and see how we go. It might make the manager’s decision making a little bit easier.
“The manager can be ultra-positive now and throw the shackles off.”
The corresponding 1-1 draw between the two clubs before Christmas was marred by ugly scenes when Marouane Fellaini responded to provocation by Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross by elbowing his opponent in the face.
Fellaini subsequently served a three-game ban over the busy festive period, and although Jagielka admits that clash still holds frustrating memories for the Blues, he is keen they focus on the right sort of revenge.
“Obviously we didn’t enjoy the way it was when we played at Stoke,” said the England defender, who is waiting for the deep cut in his ankle suffered against Reading last month to heal before he can resume first-team action.

“I don’t think we got any help from the officials at all. You can’t condone what Felli did but in the build-up he was getting wrestled all the time. We wo n’t look back at the game though because now we need to concentrate on being positive and getting the right results.”
Everton will have both Fellaini and Steven Pienaar missing for the Stoke game as both begin two-match suspensions for bookings picked up in their side’s last outing, that impressive 2-0 victory over Manchester City.

That could mean Moyes decides to partner Victor Anichebe, who stood out for his voracious work-rate against the reigning champions, with Nikica Jelavic after the Croatian also ended his goal-scoring drought during the triumph.
Tony Hibbert is also closing in on a return to fitness, although he is not expected to be ready by tomorrow.

Seamus Coleman, who played 90 minutes during Ireland's 2-2 draw with Austria on Tuesday, is expected to return at right-back, while Leighton Baines should be fresh after he watched England's 1-1 draw with Montenegro from the bench alongside Leon Osman.

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