Huddersfield Town vs Everton

Saturday, 28 April, 2018 0comments  |  Jump to last
Match Preview

Leighton Baines is doubtful again, this time with a cut to his foot

Everton's season continues to wind down with their first trip to Huddersfield Town in the League since the early 1970s next on the agenda.

It's the reverse fixture of Sam Allardyce's first match in charge of the Blues, a 2-0 win that got his reign at Goodison Park off to a winning start and helped keep the team on course for safety from relegation following David Unsworth's parting victory over West Ham a few days before.

Since then, Everton have won just seven of 20 games under Allardyce but have managed, nevertheless, to ascend as high as eighth place, although Leicester City below them have played a game fewer.

As was the case before last Monday's win over Newcastle United at Goodison, the manager's future has been a prominent topic of conversation in the pre-match build-up, this time because of newspaper reports by The Mirror and Mail suggesting his meeting with Farhad Moshiri in London on Thursday did not provide the assurances he was looking for regarding to his continued employment by the club beyond this summer.

Allardyce was insistent during his pre-match press conference that there was clarity from his discussions with the club's major shareholder, however, and that they discussed plans for pre-season and the 2018-19 season beyond.

Fan opinion of the manager is unlikely to have been improved by his comments yesterday morning — if anything, they may intensify a resolve among the core support to make their misgivings about Allardyce known more vociferously — and there is the danger for him that he will be the subject of more chants calling for his departure today, particularly if Everton don't win.

Allardyce will plough on regardless and will likely aim once more for as few changes to his line-up as are necessary. Two alternations to the starting XI may be enforced following the news that Leighton Baines's cut to the foot head could keep him out.

The defender may be sidelined again for this weekend's game while Morgan Schneiderlin, who came off against Newcastle with a dead leg, is also a cause for concern and could miss out as well.

Gylfi Sigurdsson, meanwhile, remains some way away from making his return, strengthening the doubts that he will play for the Blues again this season. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is now out for the season himself with a stress fracture in his back.

Should neither Baines nor Schneiderlin be passed fit, it presents an opportunity for Cuco Martina to deputise at left back again while Tom Davies will be hopeful of earning a recall after starting the two previous games on the bench. Davy Klaassen and Nikola Vlasic can also step in if selected, particularly if Wayne Rooney drops back into a deeper holding role.

While Everton have little to play for beyond trying to consolidate eighth place, Huddersfield are not yet safe from the drop and need a victory to almost guarantee survival. Indeed, the importance of this fixture in particular is heightened by the fact that the Terriers must face Champions Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in their final three matches.

Manager David Wagner is unable to call on Elias Kachunga, Danny Williams, Michael Hefele or Tom Ince as all four are ruled out through injury.

Huddersfield's need for the points should add a dimension to this game that would not otherwise be there but it will also make it a more difficult assignment for an Everton side that has won just twice away from home all season.

Kick-off: 3pm, Saturday 28 April, 2018
Referee: Lee Probert
Last Time: Huddersfield Town 0 - 0 Everton, April 1972

Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Baines, Gueye, Rooney, Davies, Bolasie, Walcott, Tosun


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