Bohemians manager Pat Fenlon says his players can’t wait to test themselves against Everton on Monday night (8pm).
The Blues are in Dublin for a friendly match at Dalymount Park following the postponement of their Premier League opener at Spurs at the weekend.
Their hosts are currently two thirds of the way through their own league campaign and Fenlon says his side will try and make the match as competitive as possible in front of what he is anticipating to be a big crowd.
There is a stark contrast between the Everton of August 2011 and 2010. Unfortunately for the club’s board, although not necessarily David Moyes and his team, it lies in the prevailing mood around Goodison Park where optimism has given way to protest.
This time last year there were no major additions to the senior squad at Everton, merely Jermaine Beckford signed on a free from Leeds United, and the available budget was spent securing Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill, Jack Rodwell and Leighton Baines on new long-term contracts. The end result was relief plus a sense that retaining a team who finished the previous campaign so convincingly, losing only twice in its final 24 matches, could challenge for Champions League qualification. It was a view endorsed by Moyes and Sir Alex Ferguson, albeit with a prescient warning from the younger Glaswegian that a lack of a top-class striker could hinder those ambitions.
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In David Moyes’ 10th season with the club, can he survive with a weakened squad and little money to strengthen it? Although if he can retain key players, a return to Europe and, potentially, some silverware will not be beyond the realms of possibility.
Paul Doyle and Amy Lawrence discuss Everton’s prospects for the coming season
Despite a middling season and an FA Cup exit last week, Everton FC have made a late push away from proximity to relegation and toward a possible top-10 finish in the Premier League. Now Coach David Moyes is hoping to finish strong with a chance at making the Europa League tournament.
One week after being knocked out of the FA Cup by the Championship side Reading and languishing five points above the relegation zone, Everton will rise to eighth in the table should they beat Birmingham City in their rearranged fixture at Goodison Park on Wednesday night. Birmingham’s Carling Cup triumph has reduced the opportunity to secure a Europa League spot through the Premier League this season but, while conceding Everton’s prospects are slim, Moyes insists a sustained run of form is not beyond his squad.
“I said when I joined that I thought the club needed Europe. I needed it and the players needed it,” the Everton manager said. “We missed out last year, probably because of the injuries that we had to Phil Jagielka and Mikel Arteta. But we have not had those problems this time. We have not had that excuse. Never at any time have we challenged or looked like doing so.