Football

Everton Vs Birmingham, Sun 20 Dec 2009

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Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell will miss Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Birmingham and Brazilian Jo is also doubtful.

Rodwell became the latest addition to manager David Moyes' lengthy list of absentees when he suffered a hamstring injury in the Europa League defeat by BATE Borisov.

The club are awaiting the results of a scan to determine how many games the 18-year-old will miss.

Forward Jo is struggling after turning his ankle and suffering from flu, but Tim Cahill is back after being suspended for last week's trip to Chelsea.

Leon Osman could come into the reckoning after playing 81 minutes against BATE.

Moyes will extend a warm hand to two of his former players as they return to Goodison Park.

James McFadden and Lee Carsley both played prominent roles for Moyes before leaving the club for St Andrew's in 2008.

The pair are now both part of a Birmingham team bidding to equal a club record of six successive top-flight wins by beating Moyes' side in the Barclays Premier League.

Scottish forward McFadden is the most likely of the pair to feature with veteran Carsley, 35, more of a squad player these days.

However, Moyes hopes both play and receive a good reception. He said: "They were great for me.

"Faddy was one of my early signings from Motherwell and I enjoyed having him around.

"Cars was already here but he became a stalwart for us and we were delighted to have him.

"He was someone we all enjoyed and obviously his goal against Liverpool a few years ago will always be well remembered!

"I hope the two of them are back and we can see them because they are two great lads.

"They were both really good professionals, always worked hard at their game.

"But there came a time for both to move on. It was done in the right manner and hopefully they will come to Everton and remember it fondly."

Promoted Birmingham's recent run has seen them move 10 points ahead of an Everton side whose season is still to fire.

Moyes has been hampered by a lengthy injury list throughout the campaign but is taking encouragement from his side's progress in the Europa League and draws against Tottenham and Chelsea.

"Our performances have been better," the Scot said. "Good performances tend to lead to results.

"Results have come in those two games against Tottenham and Chelsea, albeit draws.

"We have got to try to build on our run and try to get up the league.

"The important thing now is we start to get a run going in the Premier League. We need to get away from the position we are in."

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish is set to name an unchanged side for the sixth successive match.

The last time City went half a dozen games with the same line-up was during the 1998-99 campaign.

McLeish has no fresh injury worries or concerns about the fitness levels of his side as they prepare for their third game in eight days.

David Murphy, Teemu Tainio, Martin Taylor and Garry O'Connor remain long-term injury absentees.

Cameron Jerome believes Birmingham have the ideal mix of youth and experience as they go searching for a sixth successive league win.

The Blues striker is full of praise for manager Alex McLeish for finding the right combination after the midlands club were written off as relegation certainties in the summer by bookmakers and pundits.

City found themselves occupying sixth spot in the table after Tuesday's 2-1 home win over Blackburn and Jerome feels their performances justify their current lofty status.

Only Manchester United and Chelsea have also won five Premier League games on the trot during the current campaign.

Jerome, who netted both goals against Rovers, said: "People would expect us to be lower in the table but our performances merit our position at the moment.

"We are working so hard as a team and we are playing really well and are hard to play against home and away.

"We are resilient and hard to break down and we've been hitting teams on the counter-attack.

"We've got to keep our feet on the ground and not get too carried away with regards our league position.

"We've just got to get to that magical points figure, of 38 to 40 points, to guarantee our Premier League survival for the next season.

"Everything after that is a bonus and we can build on everything after that. The quicker we get safe, the quicker we can set ourselves a new target."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Everton
Birmingham
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