Boss Says Newcastle Test Is Key To Strong Finish

by Peter Lennox

Sam Allardyce says Everton have a “responsibility to finish the season well" and believes Monday's clash at home to Newcastle United is key to a strong finale.

The Blues go into game at Goodison Park a point ahead of the in-form Magpies, who have won their past four games on the spin.

The Toffees, however, will be aiming to continue their solid home record having taken 24 points from the past 36 available at the Grand Old Lady.

Allardyce is expecting a “very competitive game” but is confident his players can triumph and open up a four-point gap on Rafael Benitez’s men.

"They are in the best form they have been in all season since so it will be a tough test,” he said. “We want to make sure we try to win this match and do not let Newcastle sneak above us. That is very important and it will be a very competitive game.

“Our home results have been very positive, though and we hope that will carry on.”

With just four Premier League games remaining, Allardyce says his squad are determined to end the campaign on a positive note and entertain Evertonians.

“We are striving to finish the season as best as we can and acquire as many points as we can,” he said.

“We have a responsibility to finish the season well and make everybody feel better.”

Allardyce also revealed key playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson is making good progress in his recovery from a knee injury, which he suffered in the 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on 10 March. He also added that defender Mason Holgate could return before the end of the campaign.

“Gylfi’s been doing very well,” he said. “He’s been doing some rehab training, he is back out on the pitch again.

“Mason Holgate, maybe [could play again this season] after his ankle operation.”

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