Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is anxious for his players to avoid a crisis of confidence as they attempt to rectify a prolonged Premier League slump.
Howe’s Cherries have lost eight of their last 11 top-flight games and travel to Everton searching for just a third win since October.
The south-coast club, who were knocked out of the FA Cup at home to Brighton last weekend, have shipped 15 goals in their previous four matches in all competitions.
They have also lost captain Simon Francis, full-back Adam Smith and midfielder Lewis Cook to long-term knee injuries during the past two months.
“It’s another massive game for us,” said Howe at his pre-match press conference.
“We’re very keen to show a response to the recent run that we’ve been on.
“The fixture list we had was incredibly tough, the injuries we suffered were difficult for us to handle, and I think confidence just took a little knock on the back of those two things.
“Confidence is such an important factor in any professional team, we need to make sure that we don’t doubt ourselves in any way and we go to Everton full of confidence.”
Bournemouth were held to a 3-3 draw at home to Watford in their last league outing after suffering post-Christmas thrashings at Tottenham and Manchester United.
They will attempt to pick up a first away victory since October 27 during Sunday’s televised game, although the club have lost on all five of their previous visits to Goodison Park.
Howe believes his players will be undaunted by that statistic and feels it could provide additional motivation for success.
“I’d like to think it doesn’t affect the mentality of the players, it certainly doesn’t affect me,” said Howe.
“We’ve always believed that when we haven’t done something it’s a huge incentive to try and do it.
“It’s been a tough ground for us historically on our Premier League journey but we’re very keen to change that and to get our season really firing again.”
Right-back Nathaniel Clyne, signed on loan from Liverpool last week, is set to make his league debut for the Cherries, but fellow new signing Dominic Solanke is still out with a hamstring problem.
Howe expects Clyne to receive a hostile reception from the blue half of Merseyside
“I’m sure there will be an element of people remembering his time at Liverpool, without a shadow of a doubt,” said Howe.
“But I think there’s a game of football to support and see so I don’t think there will be a huge issue.”
Cherries top scorer Callum Wilson and creative winger Ryan Fraser face late fitness tests on hamstring issues, while forward Joshua King is a doubt due to illness.