James McCarthy and Darron Gibson frustrated by Everton struggles
Everton pair James McCarthy and Darron Gibson cannot put their finger on the cause for their frustrating Premier League campaign, after the Toffees failed to make home advantage pay against basement side Leicester.
McCarthy has urged Toffees fans to stay patient following Sunday's 2-2 draw which leaves Roberto Martinez's troops in 12th spot, 19 points off the fourth place position that was the pre-season target.
Everton have not won at home since December and are now relying on the Europa League to provide some relief.
"It has been a frustrating campaign, especially in the league," said the injury hit midfielder. "It's frustrating as a player. As a fan it's no good watching it either.
"They fans have come out in their numbers and we are trying to kick up this table. Every one of us knows that we need to address this. We know it is not good enough.
"We go again on Thursday (in the Europa League) and the fans need to stick with us."
Gibson came off the bench to make a positive impression before Everton's late equaliser against the Foxes in only his second outing since November.
He has escaped blame for their struggles because of injury, yet does not believe that the European run is responsible for domestic strife.
"If we could put our finger on it then we would change something," he said. "I don't think the Thursday European games are affecting us.
"It might show in the results but physically it's not affecting us. The stats aren't down or anything. We're not doing anything different as players and as a team so I'm not really sure what it is."
Gibson has struggled to establish himself in the side due to consistent knee problems and, closer to home, Dundalk's title winning hero Stephen O'Donnell is facing up to another layoff for the same reason.
O'Donnell made a miraculous recovery to star in the Lilywhites' title decider with Cork in October but is set to miss two months of action with a cartilage issue.
"It's the same knee," O'Donnell told the Dundalk Democrat. "This sort of thing happens quite frequently after an operation like the one I had last year.
"It's common to get cartilage cleaned or repaired but I was hoping I might have got away with it because I got through a month of pre-season without any problems but then it suddenly began to swell up.
"I thought it was just a reaction to pre-season but it didn't go down and any time I went to train on it, it puffed up again. I went for a scan and it showed a tear in the cartilage."
Galway United have completed the signing of experienced defender Samuel Oji in another setback for his former club Limerick.
The Londoner is enthused by a fresh start. "I wanted a new challenge to keep the fire in my belly," he said.
Limerick have yet to confirm where they will play their opening game against Bohemians which is scheduled for Saturday week with Markets Field not ready for action.
There was some clarity ahead of the 2015 season last night, however, when league authorities confirmed that Bray Wanderers have provided the relevant information to secure a Premier Division licence.
Athlone and Cobh have also been approved for the First Division after queries arose from their initial application.