Everton v Stoke City: Match Preview


Everton v Stoke City; Goodison Park; Barclays Premier League; Sunday 4 December 2011, 15:00

Team News

Everton manager David Moyes is set to welcome back three key players for Sunday's Barclays Premier League visit of Stoke.

Sylvain Distin and Phil Neville are in contention after working their way back from respective groin and hamstring injuries, while Jack Rodwell has overcome a rib problem.

Meanwhile, Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson remains a doubt with the knee and calf problems that forced him to miss Thursday's UEFA Europa League tie against Dynamo Kiev, but Jonathan Woodgate, who was ineligible for that match, returns to the Potters squad.

Moyes pays Bily tribute

David Moyes has challenged Diniyar Bilyaletdinov to prove he deserves a long run in the Everton side after impressing in last weekend's win over Bolton.

The 26-year-old Russian winger recently admitted he may be forced to leave Goodison Park in January if he is not playing regularly, with one eye on this summer's European Championships.

"Bilyaletdinov sometimes he doesn't get enough credit," Moyes told the Liverpool Post. "He's actually a boy who is desperate to do well, a really conscientious worker.

"He did quite well early in the season, but then I decided to make some changes and he missed out, and he was really unlucky in that sense.

A number of clubs are thought to be waiting in the wings to sign Bilyaletdinov when the transfer window reopens, but the Toffees boss insists he has a bright future on Merseyside.

"What he wants is to be given an opportunity, he wants a chance like all players do," he added. "But I have to say, he's never complained for a minute, he's got on with his work, he's been a pleasure every day in training.

"He really is, and his effort he puts in, if people aren't aware of that then they should realise he's a top, top professional.

"There's bits of it where the game could at times be a little bit quick for him, but we've talked about it, and we've wondered, do we miss his goals when he's not playing?"

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