Howard Set For Landmark Game
American to play his 200th consecutive league match at Stoke.
Tim Howard will make his 200th consecutive Premier League appearance on Saturday afternoon – but the American international will be treating it just like any of his previous 199.
Howard has been an ever-present for the Blues in the top flight for over five years, a spell which has seen him take his total outings for the Club to 286.
Indeed, the last time Everton played a Premier League game without the former Manchester United man was 23 September 2007 when Stefan Wessels deputised between the posts in a fixture against Aston Villa.
And although Howard says good fortune has played a part in him reaching the landmark total, he cites hard work, dedication and the support of those around him as the secret to his consistency.
Speaking to evertonfc.com, the 33-year-old said: “I try not to follow my stats because I just think it's bad karma, bad luck. But it's incredible - where's the time gone?
“I've been really lucky and I've steered clear of bad injuries. Every now and then I've gotten sick or gotten the flu but it's been at the right time in the week where I've been able to recover.
“I've been lucky to have a manager who believes in me, who probably has played me on occasions where maybe I didn't deserve the nod but has shown confidence in me.
“And I think I've done a few things right. I just get my head down and I've been able to do that because I've just focused on the next game - not 100, not 200, not 400 - I just focus on the next game and I think when you do that good things happen.”
Howard’s goalkeeping coach throughout his time at Everton has been former England, Norwich and Sheffield Wednesday stopper Chris Woods – another colleague he credits for his success.
“I've been blessed not only to have a great manager but a goalkeeper coach who, in seven years, has never let me rest,” said the US No.1.
“He's always pushed me to do more. He believes in my abilities, he's always gotten me prepared and one thing I've taken from him is that when he was a player he was always on the training ground. He didn't believe in taking liberties and shortcuts.
“I think one of the ideals that we have from a goalkeeping standpoint here is ‘get your nose to the ground and work hard’. And working hard means coming to work every day, not being on the treatment table, not taking days off.
“If things are going well you keep the rhythm up in training. If things aren't going so well for you, you get out there and figure it out until things get better.”
While Howard will be aiming to mark his achievement with three points at the Britannia Stadium, he is fully aware it will be no easy task.
Tony Pulis’ side currently sit in a healthy ninth position in the Premier League table and are six matches unbeaten.
The Potters have the meanest defence in the Premier League and have conceded just twice on home soil all season.
“Stoke is a tough nut to crack,” he acknowledged. “They've been in the Premier League for quite a number of years now and it just doesn't seem that we've gotten very good results there. So the tide needs to turn and it needs to turn this weekend.
“We’ll certainly do everything we can to fix that. They're playing well at home, they've been stingy and not given too much away, so it could be nip and tuck. But we've shown that we can be resilient as well.”