The league is put on hold as the romance of the FA Cup takes over the weekend. For Everton, they face a tricky tie having to travel to League 2 side Cheltenham Town on Monday night. Although Everton have eyes on a top 4 position in the league, silverware is also high on the priority list for Moyes and his men and will be looking for a good cup run especially since the disappointment of the Capital One Cup where they bowed out to Championship side Leeds United, not to mention, they were so close in last seasons FA Cup reaching the semi finals before elbowing out to arch-rivals Liverpool. Everton are coming off a hard fought 2-1 win at Newcastle, where they had to come from behind. The opposition, Cheltenham suffered a tough 1-0 defeat at Oxford, although, Cheltenham have had a decent season thus far and find themselves right in the mix for promotion. It is a sticky tie for Everton with Cheltenham looking to cause a major upset this early in the Cup.
Everton manager David Moyes had this to say on the upcoming opponents
We want to go as far as we can in the FA Cup and we will be doing everything we can to get through. We will not underestimate Cheltenham and we will have to go there and do a really good job if we want to get into the next round.
Cheltenham have done very well at home and they are a decent side. I watched them against Hereford in the replay and they are going well in their division. They have got a wee bit of confidence because they are playing well in their league. It`s the next game and that`s always our next priority. We have to go into the game and try and win it and then move on from there. Our players have to play – that’s what they’re here for. Otherwise, they’ll be thrust into the really big games and people have to be ready. We’ll have a look at it and see what we plan to do in terms of selection.’
Robins defender Steve Elliot is excited for the match against Everton saying
‘I remember going up to Goodison Park early in my career and getting a couple of draws there, but that was a long time ago now. I played against them a few times back in the day and I will relish a chance to play against them again. We are not going to get ahead of ourselves and say we’ll win because they have so many international players, but it’s the FA Cup, and Whaddon Road gives us a better chance than at Goodison. We are all really looking forward to it and if we can create a bit of history, then great.’
Cheltenham Town Team News:
For Cheltenham Town or the Robins, despite the hectic festive period they have found themselves in pretty good shape with no major injuries to report. Although reserve keeper Connor Roberts will be hoping to get game time with Everton releasing him to Cheltenham Town.
Possible Starting XI: Brown, Jombati, Bennett (C), Elliott, Jones, McGlashan, Carter, Penn, Taylor, Goulding, Harrad
Player to watch: Shaun Harrad
Harrad is the top scorer for the Robins this season having scored 7 goals thus far. He will be the major threat on the Everton goal, despite being in League 2, I am sure Harrad and the rest of his teammates will be up for this game, Everton may dominate the possession, but I am sure if given a chance Harrad will be looking to cause a major upset over Everton.
Everton Team News:
Everton manager David Moyes will have to make some tough decisions in regards to team selection, with the hectic festive period taking its toll on the small squad, Moyes may be tempted to rest a couple players, although he will be scarred following the shock exit to Leeds in the Capital One Cup. The only definite outs for Everton are Tony Hibbert (calf), Darron Gibson (thigh) and Kevin Mirallas (hamstring) although the Belgian is edging closer to a return with the Swansea fixture being a good chance. Everton are set to welcome back Seamus Coleman after he missed the festive period with an ankle problem.
Possible Starting XI: Howard, Coleman, Heitinga, Duffy, Oviedo, Hitzlsperger, Neville, Osman, Naismith, Fellaini, Anichebe
Player to watch: Victor Anichebe
The much maligned attacker is starting to win Everton fans with his performances in the past year. Came on against Newcastle to bag the winner on Wednesday night and generally been in good form whenever he has played for Everton in the past 12 months. Anichebe clearly has the physical attributes to succeed at this level and will be looking to add to his goal tally against Cheltenham and with Jelavic struggling to find the back of the net, Anichebe may be sensing an opening for a starting striker role for Everton.
Match Facts & Stats
1. These sides have met only once in their history, It came back in April 1990 in a testimonial match for Ray Baverstock and Nick Jordan, Cheltenham Town were 1-0 winners that day.
2. Cheltenham have only conceded 11 goals in 12 home league games this season, although 6 goals did come in one game courtesy of Southend United.
3. Everton have scored in the last 18 games, but conceded in the last 16 games.
4. Everton finished 2012 amassing 68pts in the calendar year, only behind the two Manchester sides.
Despite it being a League 2 side, it does worry me, Everton in the FA Cup tend to go two ways, one is that they go for a good cup run, as evident last season, or they falter early to a lower league side. Cheltenham Town will be tough, especially at home. Whatever the line up is, the team is going to have to play hard, they would have learnt a valuable lesson from the Leeds game earlier in the season, and hopefully they will rectify that performance. I am going for a 2-0 Everton win courtesy of an Anichebe double. COYB!!! I WANT WEMBLEY AGAIN LADS!!!!!