Michael Keane says he feels like his season has been kick-started as he bids to make it a hat-trick of clean sheets against Bournemouth.
The 24-year-old England international was drafted back into the Blues’ starting line-up for the visit of Chelsea last time out at Goodison Park.
And after an impressive showing against the reigning Premier League champions, Keane retained his starting berth for the trip to West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day.
Both of those games have seen Keane excel in the heart of defence - and the Toffees record shut-outs.
When asked whether that has helped ignite his Everton career, after making a move worth a potential £30million from Burnley last summer, Keane said: “I think so. I’ve had a few good games earlier this season but then it tailed off and it’s been a tough few months but I’ve kept working hard, kept the belief in myself and hopefully today will give me that confidence to kick on.
“It’s been difficult and it’s never nice not playing. At the same time, I can’t complain because Ash and Mason have done fantastic, kept a lot of clean sheets so I couldn’t complain. All I can do is try to play my best when I get a chance.
“I came in against Chelsea and you don’t want that [team] momentum to stop. We want to get to where Chelsea are. They’re a great team, they move the ball about so well, they’ve got great individual players going forward and we always knew it was going to be difficult.
“Coming into the team I was just really focused, Iknew my role, knew what to do and I think the gaffer’s made that very clear and I thought I did alright.”
Keane has hailed the impact of Sam Allardyce since the 63-year-old took the managerial reigns last month.
And he insists the Toffees, who currently occupy ninth place in the table, are doing everything they can to climb further up the league ladder.
“The manager has been brilliant in training, simplifying a lot of things which were going wrong previously and I think it’s showing,” added Keane.
“A lot of work has been put in on the training ground and then getting the results breeds confidence.
“We’re doing a lot of good stuff at the minute but we can’t rest on our laurels. We need to keep working hard and I’m sure more points will come.”