McCarthy excited by menu for Christmas

JAMES McCarthy is looking forward to the festive fixtures with renewed optimism after his brace last weekend.

The Republic of Ireland international, who scored his first Premier League goals since February 2011, believes Wigan showed enough fighting spirit in last Saturday's 2-2 draw with QPR to suggest there is better to come.

"The goals have been a very long time coming - too long - but it was nice to get back on the scoresheet," said McCarthy.

"But I didn't really feel like celebrating much because we've drawn a game we should have won and I'd have traded both goals for the three points.

"The way we fought back though shows we've got good character at the club and we're definitely going in the right direction.

"It gives us something to build on now going into the Norwich game, and hopefully we can kick on into the festive period."

No mixed emotions - Walters

JONATHAN WALTERS has assured supporters that there will be no split allegiances when he steps out for the Potters against boyhood club Everton this weekend.

The Republic of Ireland international, who is a self-confessed lifelong Toffees supporter, spent many a Saturday afternoon during his youth cheering on the Blues at Goodison Park along with his father and brothers.

However, the striker has revealed that he will be doing his utmost to plunder three points this weekend, and throw a spanner in the works of Everton's bid for a top-four spot.

"Obviously, I will be doing everything I can to help Stoke get the three points," he said.

"After the game I will be hoping that Everton can go on and enjoy a good season; apart from our return fixture."