Yannick Bolasie is champing at the bit to get back to first-team action - and says he’s taken inspiration from the way former teammate Wilfried Zaha has returned from injury to lift Saturday’s opponents Crystal Palace.
Bolasie is working his way back from a serious knee injury he sustained in December last year having stepped up his rehabilitation programme at USM Finch Farm in recent weeks.
Zaha missed two months of this campaign after suffering his own knee problem in Palace’s opening day defeat to Huddersfield Town but has scored twice in four games since returning to action in mid-October.
His first helped Roy Hodgson’s side record their first points of the season with a 2-1 win over champions Chelsea at Selhurst Park, while he also netted in their 2-2 draw with West Ham United last time out on home soil.
And while Bolasie is desperate to see the Blues keep his good friend quiet this weekend, he says watching his fellow winger has given him confidence he can hit the ground running when his own comeback comes around.
“He’s back up to speed already and I take inspiration from that,” said Bolasie, who is a studio guest on Friday’s The Everton Show. “Obviously, he’s one of my good mates and I know it’s made a massive difference, him coming back from injury and scoring a goal straightaway.
“That’s helped his confidence and, not only that, he’s taken it into the following games, which I’ve watched. He’ll be a problem and we’ll have to watch out for him on Saturday.”
Bolasie spent four years at Selhurst Park, scoring 13 goals in 144 appearances, before moving to Merseyside in August last year.
Everton’s points-per-game record (2.12) is better at the home of the Eagles than any other Premier League stadium, with the Blues having not lost an away game against Palace since October 1994.
Victory could see David Unsworth's side leap up from 15th in the table but Bolasie is warning his teammates not to take the league's basement side for granted.
“My experience is it’s always a tricky place to go,” he added. “People think you’re going to go there and win but it’s not straightforward. They’ll be prepared for this game for sure.
“With our league position, we’re not too far for them in points, so the win against Watford before the international break was crucial for us.
“It means we can go in not as tense but instead thinking about winning the game. But it still won’t be easy.”
Watch Bolasie on The Everton Show on Made In Liverpool (Sky channel 117, Freeview 7 and Virgin 159) and Made In North Wales (Freeview channel 8) this Friday from 7pm or on demand via YouTube and evertonfc.com from 7.30pm.
If you live outside of the Made In Liverpool or Made In North Wales broadcast regions but have access to a Sky box, find out how you can add the channel here.