Sam Allardyce says it will be “great” to welcome the “quality and experience” of Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines back into his Everton squad.
Right-back Coleman is fit for the Toffees' clash with Burnley on Saturday, while Baines is closing on a first-team return following a three-month injury absence.
Manager Allardyce has not had the benefit of being able to select the full-back pair in the same starting XI since taking charge back in November. Furthermore, he has been denied the opportunity of fielding formidable right-sided duo Coleman and Theo Walcott away from home – after the purposeful international twosome ignited their relationship in impressive fashion in the recent victory over Leicester City, when Coleman made a stirring comeback following 10 months out with a broken leg.
Republic of Ireland star Coleman suffered a minor setback when he was forced off in the following game against Crystal Palace, but is available for the trip to Burnley, where Everton are targeting the win which would haul them level on points with the seventh-placed Clarets.
Left-back Baines has been in full training for the past fortnight after recovering from a calf problem sustained before the arrival of Allardyce – who is also urging the players in his team to fight to retain their places, with Phil Jagielka and Ramiro Funes Mori also back training and the Toffees' injury list dwindling.
Coleman has been an integral component of Everton’s side since the outset of the 2010/11 campaign, while Baines is in his 11th season with the Club.
Between them, the two defenders have contributed directly to 150 goals for Everton – and chalked up a combined 643 appearances in the royal blue jersey.
“It is great to have them back and, hopefully, the pair of them can stay fit until the end of the season and make a big contribution which we know they are more than capable of because they have done it over the past eight or nine years,” Allardyce told evertontv.
“We need their qualities and experience. And hopefully they can show that when we get them back in the team.
“There is no doubt they contribute offensively and defensively. Not just with their passing ability or final-third attacking ability but, certainly from Seamus’ point of view, the added one on top of that is his goals – not just his assists. And Leighton is good on the assists side and penalties.
“Where we have been a bit light up front is in the number of goals people have scored – anybody who can pick up goals in the rest of our team adds to the tally and can contribute to the results we are looking for, particularly away from home.”
Coleman and Walcott’s embryonic relationship was hailed recently by Everton legend Trevor Steven, who backed the high-calibre duo to “click quickly” and forge a potent understanding on the Toffees’ right flank.
And after seeing Walcott score both goals in the success against Leicester when operating in tandem with 29-year-old Coleman, Allardyce is excited by the prospect of unleashing the two marauding stars – who boast 73 international caps between them – away from home.
Everton have collected 17 points from the 24 available at Goodison since Allardyce watched the 4-0 thumping of West Ham United on the eve of his appointment.
But after enjoying an auspicious start on the road – the Toffees collected five points and conceded only once in the manager’s first three away games – Allardyce has not seen his side win away since the victory at Newcastle United in December.
“It [the Coleman-Walcott partnership] is something you want to continue and hopefully see it produce a similar performance away from home,” said Allardyce, who also revealed the Toffees have increased Cenk Tosun’s “training levels”, with the Turkey internationial striker steeping up his adaptation to Premier League football.
“But I would have to say to everybody, ‘What we have seen at home, we have not seen away,’ – and the responsibility of the players is to have a positive frame of mind and get in the right focus and frame of mind, wherever they turn out, to enable them to perform at the highest level they can.
“We have not seen enough of that away from home, so it will be interesting to see what they players achieve at Burnley, which is going to be a very difficult game on the basis they are a very well organised side that does not concede a lot of goals.
“They don’t score many, but they don’t concede a lot.”