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Royle Relishing Cup Clash

Goodison legend and former Oldham boss is backing the Blues.

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Joe Royle believes Everton are well equipped to avoid suffering the same fate as Oldham’s previous FA Cup opponents.

The Latics welcome David Moyes' side to Boundary Park on Saturday, hoping to pull off a second successive Merseyside shock.

The League One side recorded a 3-2 victory over Liverpool in the fourth round last month, but Blues legend and former Oldham boss Royle insists he isn't expecting a repeat.

He told evertontv: "I think this current Everton side is somewhat immune from the kind of performance Liverpool had, albeit not with their strongest side. Everton are now a very solid outfit. They don't lose many games. If David plays his strongest team, I don't think we can lose this game.

"But I'm delighted Oldham are in the round quite honestly. They beat our neighbours in a game they weren't supposed to win. The whole town is still very excited.

"I've got sons, a daughter-in-law and grandchildren all living in Oldham. I get across there and believe me, the place is buzzing. I've been having requests for tickets from this side and the opposite side so I'm using all my allocation."

Royle has fond memories of his tenure at Boundary Park, but admits he had mixed emotions on the last day of the 1993/94 Premier League season.

Both Everton and Oldham had found themselves in danger of relegation and on a rollercoaster afternoon; the Lancashire club ended up going down while Everton enjoyed an unforgettable survival courtesy of Barry Horne's late strike.

"At one stage, Everton were 2-0 down and we were 1-0 up at Norwich and we needed a number of results to go for us for Oldham to stay up," Royle reflected.

"I remember feeling slightly queasy to say the least at half-time about the prospect of Everton going down. Oldham did go down and it was the end of 12 marvelous years. The following November, I got the call to come manage here which, to be honest, I thought had passed me by."

That switch back to Goodison Park provided the Blues' last FA Cup success in 1995 - a feat Royle believes could well be achieved this campaign.

He said: "I think we have a great chance, our biggest chance. There have already been too many draws to seriously contest the Premier League. You start out every year wanting the best realistically - there's still a very live chance of fourth place and still a near certainty, in my eyes, of the top six.

"The FA Cup is a realistic chance. David Moyes will not be complacent about this game, but he will know equally that Everton will be strong favourites to go into the next round. Some of the big boys are already out - you never know..."

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