Saturday 22 November 2014

Howard backs Everton to bounce back

Published 28/04/2014 | 16:47

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has no doubts they will raise their game against Manchester City
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has no doubts they will raise their game against Manchester City

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard insists Saturday's visit of Manchester City will be an easy game to play in simply because of the quality of opposition.

The self-inflicted 2-0 defeat at Southampton damaged the Toffees' dreams of Champions League football but a point against Manuel Pellegrini's team will at least guarantee a return to the Europa League for the first time since 2009.

They could also do neighbours Liverpool a huge favour by taking points off City, which would give the Reds renewed hope of winning the title for the first time in 24 years.

Howard said the priority was to get themselves back on track after the disappointment at St Mary's Stadium.

"Hopefully we'll brush it aside as a one-off and we'll have it all to do against Manchester City," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"It will be wide open, a tactical battle with top players on display.

"Those games take care of themselves. Those are the easy games to play in.

"Gareth Barry (on loan from City) won't be there but we can cope."

Howard is confident there will be no hangover from a second defeat in three games.

"The manager has been brilliant in that regard. He dismisses things very quickly, both brilliant performances and bad ones.

"We'll get it out of the way and have a good week of training again.

"We'll be focused from Monday to deal with what City have to throw at us."

Captain Phil Jagielka, who has not played since the end of February because of a hamstring problem, is expected to return to face City as Everton's injury list continues to grow.

The club are still awaiting details of the extent of calf and knee problems sustained by Leighton Baines at the weekend.

Martinez had eight players unavailable through injury against Southampton and with Barry ineligible against his parent club this weekend the Spaniard has recalled forward Apostolos Vellios from Blackpool after just two appearances since joining them at the end of last month.

Everton received some good news on Baines late on Monday, with the England defender now likely to face City.

"Leighton Baines is set to be fit for this weekend's game against Manchester City," said a statement on evertonfc.com.

"The England international was assessed over the weekend, but has reacted well to the problem, meaning he should be fit for Saturday's crunch Goodison clash."

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