Francis Jeffers hopes Beni Baningime’s impressive first-team debut can inspire Everton Under-23s to victory against Swansea City on Friday.
While David Unsworth continues to take charge of the senior team, coach Jeffers will once again manage the young Blues when they take on the Swans in Premier League 2 this evening (7pm kick-off).
Despite a 1-0 home defeat to Sunderland last time out in the league, the Toffees remain second in the table - five points behind current leaders Liverpool after eight rounds of fixtures.
Jeffers says the squad is champing at the bit to get back in action in south Wales - and that they have been further boosted by Baningime’s man-of-the-match display against Chelsea on his full debut for the Club.
“Weeks like this happen in football,” Jeffers told evertonfc.com. “It’s been a nice week for Unsy and for myself. I’ve really enjoyed it.
“To be honest, [the Under-23s] have not trained a lot this week because there have been so many games recently. You have to look after the boys a little bit and it’s more important to recover and then get ready for the next game in situations like this. The lads know me well and it’s not a worry at all because they are a good bunch.
“There was an extra buzz around the place after Beni’s performance. We love to see it. It’s another one of our own going into the first team. He went in alongside Tom Davies, next to Jonjoe Kenny and few others as well. It’s fantastic, it’s what I know Everton as - young lads breaking through into the first team. Beni was just what we expected - it didn’t faze him and he’s a top drawer player.
“It gives everyone extra motivation, because that’s their end goal. Even before Unsy took over, it was the end goal. We’ve always been a Club that has played our own. As a young lad, wanting to become a professional footballer, you look at Everton and think, ‘If I’m good enough, I’ll get in there’ because we give those opportunities.
“We’re all just focused on getting a win against Swansea now. We want to get back to winning ways. We’re a good team but we’ve lost three on the spin now, albeit only one in the league. That [1-0 home defeat to Sunderland] was really disappointing because we could have gone top of the league. We can’t stress enough how important it is to win this game, whatever we have to do.”
When asked whether he had had chance to catch up with regular Under-23s boss Unsworth since he had taken the first-team reins, Jeffers added: “Yes, I went down to Chelsea on Wednesday and flew back with the team after the game.
"I sat next to Unsy on the plane back and he was in good spirits, as he should be! He’s Everton manager and that’s something every Evertonian dreams of. He is there now. I wish him all the best.
“We spoke about the [Swansea Under-23s game] but I kept it short and sweet, as he has a lot on his plate at the moment!”
Head back to evertonfc.com later this evening to keep up with tonight’s game via our live blog. There will also be a full match report online after the final whistle.