Everton midfielder Phil Neville could have his first taste of action since September against Burnley.

The 32-year-old was a surprise inclusion on the bench for the 1-1 draw at Sunderland on Boxing Day after just one day's training on his return from a long-standing knee injury, although he was unused.

Manager still David Moyes awaits the impending returns of Sylvain Distin and Joseph Yobo.

Moyes is looking for Everton to rediscover their clinical touch as they attempt to climb away from the Barclays Premier League's basement battle.

The Toffees are unbeaten in four games, and, with their crippling injury problems finally starting to ease, are starting to look upwards rather than over their shoulders.

Moyes said: "At home, we have struggled a little bit recently. We have not turned draws into victories, so we have to do that.

"In some of the games - Birmingham last week as well - we have dominated the majority of it, but gave them one chance and they scored.

"It looks like we are going to have to score more than one goal at this present time to win, and that's what our problem has been, we have not been doing that."

One goal at the Stadium of Light was enough to claim a point, although the visitors had to wait 85 minutes to get some reward for a performance which improved the longer it went on.

Leon Osman had already struck a post and Louis Saha twice in quick succession failed to hit the target after being played into promising positions when Sunderland took a 17th-minute lead.

Moyes, for all his interval warning, was satisfied with a point and delighted with the performance which earned it.

"It was a reward for how the players have played in the last week or two," he said.

"We have played much better and looked more like ourselves, and in Marouane Fellaini, we have probably got the best midfield player in the country at the moment.

"He is outstanding the way he is playing. He was exceptional on Saturday and his goal was deserved for the way he played."

Burnley manager Owen Coyle will monitor the fitness of centre-backs Steven Caldwell and Clarke Carlisle.

Both players were forced to miss the 1-1 draw with Bolton on Boxing Day because of groin problems.

Coyle could freshen things up as his side bid for their first league win on the road this season.

Meanwhile, on-loan striker David Nugent is keen to stay at Burnley - at least until the end of the season.

The 1-1 draw against Bolton saw Nugent score his third goal for the club after arriving from Portsmouth, where he was out of favour.

His goal was timely not just for himself but also for Burnley, as they had fallen behind to a superb free-kick from Matt Taylor in the 29th minute.

Nugent's time at Turf Moor is due to end next month but he said: "We have talked about a loan deal until the end of the season.

"Hopefully something will be sorted out sooner rather than later. I am enjoying it here and scoring goals."

Nugent could now retain his place in the team when Burnley face his boyhood idols Everton.

Coyle was refusing to give out any clues, however, as to his starting XI but re-affirmed he wanted to retain the player's services.

He said: "David is in my ear every week about starting. He is a great lad.

"Being an Everton supporter he would love to be out there. He has certainly not done himself any harm with his goal against Bolton.

"He knows I would love to keep him and my opinion of him. I hope we can extent the loan or maybe even sort out a permanent deal as we want to bring young hungry players to the club. It is up to the powers that be to sort it out."

Coyle has nothing but respect for his opposite number Moyes, a man whose roots are also bedded in Glasgow.

Coyle said: "David is in the top bracket of managers worldwide, no doubt about it. He is someone I have a lot of time for. The thing I like about him is how hard he works.

"When I was at Bolton as a player he was at Preston. He used to come over and we would chat. You knew then he was focused on coaching even when he was still playing.

"David has really taken to it. You only have to look at his record to know the quality he has got.

"He has moved them on year in, year out. He is the perfect role model for any young manager."

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Topics:
#Leon Osman
#Joseph Yobo
#Steven Caldwell
#Matt Taylor
#Premier League
#Marouane Fellaini
#Everton
#Phil Neville
#David Nugent
#Sylvain Distin
#Clarke Carlisle
#Louis Saha
#David Nugent
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