Football

Everton v Hull City, Sun 7 Mar 2010

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Everton midfielder Tim Cahill could be back in contention for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash against Hull at Goodison Park.

The influential Australia international is still to return to training after suffering a calf injury two weeks ago but has not been ruled out by boss David Moyes.

Phil Jagielka, recently returned from a long-term knee injury, is doubtful due to a slight thigh strain, as is Leon Osman after a blow to the foot.

Top scorer Louis Saha (hamstring) is again ruled out and James Vaughan will be assessed after suffering a knock playing for the reserves in midweek. In defence, Philippe Senderos (hip) is hoping to prove his fitness but Tony Hibbert (groin) is still out. Marouane Fellaini (ankle) will miss the rest of the season.

Everton boss David Moyes admits he would trade in his side's recent defeats of Chelsea and Manchester United for a top-five finish.

The Toffees put a dismal start to the season behind them to storm up the Premier League with a run of just one defeat in 12 games after the start of December.

That sequence culminated in memorable home wins over Chelsea and Manchester United before progress was then checked by a disappointing loss at Tottenham last week.

And Moyes feels that 2-1 loss at White Hart Lane, coupled with the Europa League exit at the hands of Sporting Lisbon just days earlier, has taken the gloss off recent achievements.

Moyes said: "Overall, the last 10 or 14 days I would have to say are ones of disappointment.

"If you look back a bit farther you would say it was great but I have said many times I don't want to be a side who beats Chelsea or Manchester United once but can't beat the sides we are supposed to beat and ends up finishing mid-table.

"I would rather not beat those teams, beat the teams we should beat and finish fifth, like we have done in the last few seasons.

"We have to get back to that. The word I am missing is consistency.

"We need to get a consistency of performance which gives you an idea where you can get your wins and get them more regularly."

Hull manager Phil Brown has revealed Jimmy Bullard could start.

The midfielder, who has been sidelined with a knee injury since December, was left out of the squad for the defeat against West Ham two weeks ago but has since played for the reserves and in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Doncaster this week.

Geovanni (knee) is fit but Anthony Gardner is facing six weeks on the sidelines with an ankle problem while Stephen Hunt and Dean Marney are doubts.

Craig Fagan will definitely miss the clash following his red card against the Hammers.

David Moyes' team have had an up-and-down month, with victories over Manchester United and Chelsea balanced out by a Europa League exit at the hands of Sporting Lisbon and a 2-1 defeat by Tottenham last time out.

Possibly the low point of Everton's season came in the first half at the KC Stadium in November, when Hull were three up inside half an hour.

The Toffees recovered to pull two back but could not prevent Hull claiming the three points, and Brown admitted the match encapsulated the Tigers' season.

"I think that (result) will be on David's mind," he continued. "What we are capable of was the first half at the KC Stadium.

"The ugly side of us is what happened in the second half at the KC Stadium so we've got to make sure that we focus on the performance in the first half and bring that to the table.

"There is an ingrained griminess and mentality to David's side that fortunately for us wasn't on show at the KC Stadium in the first half and we managed to get a hold of it.

"We've got to make sure we perform to our maximum at Goodison and hope Everton don't bring that quality they can bring.

"We can put down a marker with 11 games to go. Hopefully for us it'll be a positive one. Any points between now and the end of the Arsenal game will be a massive bonus to us."

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

Topics:
Jimmy Bullard
Leon Osman
James Vaughan
Anthony Gardner
Football
Stephen Hunt
Premier League
Craig Fagan
Marouane Fellaini
Tim Cahill
Phil Jagielka
Tony Hibbert
Everton
Philippe Senderos
Dean Marney
Hull City
Louis Saha
Stephen Hunt
Geovanni
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