Ademola Lookman has struggled to make an impact so far this season
Everton are expected to field a changed side as they take on Sunderland in the Third Round of the League Cup under its latest incarnation, the Carabao Cup at Goodison Park tonight.
For Ronald Koeman, it's the first of four home games in a sequence that is expected to provide easier opposition than his beleaguered side has faced in the last few games. Although the opposition in those matches was daunting, and the ultimate score lines all too predictable, the performances were in the main abysmal.
The loss at Old Trafford has turned many of the fans against Ronald Koeman and his luckless management of Everton thus far into his three-year contract.
The early rounds of the League Cup are widely recognized as opportunities for squad rotation and Ronald Koeman is fully expected to give opportunities to some of the fringe players who may provide some temporary salvation from the mind-numbing monotony served up so far this season by his senior charges.
This approach contrasts, of course, with the fans' desire to see every competition 'taken seriously' by the manager, who has thus far failed to blend together anything close to a first-choice starting XI — assuming such an arcane concept holds any water in these days of bloated squad rosters required in order to play two games each week.
Stekelenburg appears likely to return in goal, unless Robles is given some needed game time... although Pickford may want to play against the side he left after they were relegated.
There is scope for Koeman to finally rest both Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson, with Muhamed Besic and Davvy Klaassen fresh after being an unplayed sub sat the weekend. Kenny, Lookman and Niasse were not used in Monday's Premier League 2 victory for the Under-23s at Derby, rousing speculation that they could feature tonight in Koeman's changed line-up.
And the greatest expectation will be for Jonjoe Kenny to finally get a full debut at right back, even if Koeman has tried to play down the player's readiness for serious consideration as part of his first-team squad.
It goes without saying that a win is absolutely required, both to change the dark and dismal mood pervading everything Everton at the moment... but, more importantly, progressing through to the Fourth Round is essential to maintain some hope of a trophy for long-suffering Evertonians this season.
Sunderland have had a tough start in the Championship, and their contingent of displaced Blues may feel tonight's game is an opportunity for some point to be made. Brendan Galloway has had a particularly tough adjustment, getting the blame for a goal conceded to Barnsley, and being dropped for the last two games.
However, Sunderland's on-loan Everton players — Tyias Browning and Brendan Galloway — are unable to face their parent club in this game.
But any Evertonian expecting to be complacent going into this game need only check on the last time we were at this stage of the competition, and fully expected to beat Norwich City at home.
Kick-off: 7:45pm, Wednesday 20 September 2017
Referee: Oliver Langford
Last Time: Everton 0-2 Norwich City
Predicted Line-up: Stekelenburg, Kenny, Holgate, Keane, Baines, Gueye, Davies, Klaassen, Vlasic, Lookman, Niasse.