Tim Howard reckons Everton's ability to "band together" in adversity is carrying them through a shocking injury crisis.

Following Monday night's goalless draw against 10-man Chelsea, David Moyes' side find themselves still in with a shout of UEFA Cup qualification despite a campaign that has seen them manage just one home league win all season.

With Everton back on the road on Boxing Day at Middlesbrough, and with six away wins already, Howard said: "We don't fear anyone away from home, we have played really well. We have not given our home fans much to cheer about. Our form has been terrible but we do have character."

He added: "Away from home we are hard to beat, and we do well. We feel under pressure to give the home fans something to cheer about now - maybe a draw with Chelsea is a good start.

"Middlesbrough away next will be tough. It is colder there, difficult, and we band together like brothers away from home, and we will be doing that again."

The Toffees are still in there fighting despite having four senior strikers injured, with midfielder Tim Cahill forced to play up front. With Ayegbeni Yakubu and James Vaughan out for the season and Louis Saha and Victor Anichebe also injured, Everton have been severely stretched this term.

Leon Osman is now also struggling with an ankle injury after the red-card tackle from John Terry, while Joseph Yobo is likely to be out with a hamstring problem. So the situation is not looking like getting any better for Moyes.

Everton also lost midfielder Segundo Castillo with a hamstring strain in training ahead of the Chelsea stalemate.

But Everton are still seventh, and Howard says: "We had a terrible start to the campaign. It was hard to lift ourselves after that poor beginning but we have started to come into our own.

"We are starting to look like the Everton of old, being resilient, putting our foot on the gas and getting the crowd behind us at home. But away from home we have been playing really well, so things are starting to come together."

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Leon Osman
Yakubu
Joseph Yobo
James Vaughan
Ayegbeni Yakubu
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John Terry
Chelsea
Tim Howard
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Segundo Castillo
Everton
Middlesbrough
Victor Anichebe
Louis Saha