Everton V Reading at Goodison Park : Match Preview

02 March 2013 08:28
Everton V Reading - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Howard doubt for Everton

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard is a slight doubt for the visit of Reading.

The American sustained a knock in the midweek FA Cup fifth round replay victory over Oldham and will be assessed late on.

Forward Victor Anichebe is another who may not be fit enough to return, having not played since mid-February, but midfielder Marouane Fellaini will be back after sitting out the cup match with a minor injury.

Meanwhile, Moyes is not one for the "cuddly" approach and has told mis-firing striker Nikica Jelavic it is up to him to find the solution which will end his goal drought.

The Croatia international has not scored in his past nine appearances and his only strike since December 9 came against League Two Cheltenham in the FA Cup.

Such lack of form contrasts sharply with almost 12 months ago when the 27-year-old enjoyed a run of 11 goals in 14 matches to the end of the campaign which had many hailing him as the buy of the January window at a cost of just #5.5million.

It has cost him his place in the starting line-up recently and while Moyes accepts the player's confidence has been dealt a blow he is backing the forward to bounce back.

"I am not that cuddly a fella or one for putting my arm around you all the time but every manager has their own style," Moyes said.

"I don't know if Jela is the sort of boy who would want me to do that any way.

"Any forward who has played the game and been through barren spells will tell you they practise more or don't do any in the hope it comes back without it.

"I think it is every man for themselves in that.

"We would like him to get his goals and lift his performances and if we get that it will be a big help to the team.

"The team need him. I said last week a lot of what we do this year will be determined by how well Jela scores between now and the end of the season.

"It is noticeable (his lack of goals) because everyone talks about it.

"We tend to be as honest as we can and not hide away from anything and at the moment undoubtedly we need Jela to find a way of scoring some goals.

"He needs to get a goal but I don't know if one goal will make everything right.

"If I saw him getting four goals in four games then I would start to think 'This is what we want'.

"You have to find a way of making that happen again but we could do with him standing up and getting us some goals now."

Reading will be without suspended striker Pavel Pogrebnyak.

The Russia forward was sent off during last weekend's 3-0 home defeat against Wigan and will be missing for the Royals' next three games.

Veteran striker Jason Roberts (hip) is still absent and admitted during the week he has no idea when he will be fit enough to return. Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (shoulder) also misses out.

Reading midfielder Hope Akpan is keen to treat the clash just like any other fixture but admits he will get a buzz from facing his old club.

Akpan, 21, joined the Toffees as an eight-year-old and remained at Goodison Park until a move to Crawley in 2011.

He then penned a deal with Reading in the recent January transfer window and will go back to face his boyhood club this weekend.

"Going back to where I started my career from a young age is going to be exciting, definitely, but I'm a Reading player now and I want to do well for Reading," he said.

"At the end of the day it is just another game so I've got to go out with the same mentality as I do every time I play.

"It is a massive game for Reading Football Club because, in the position we are, we need to get out of there and we need the points more than anything so I will put everything to one side and concentrate on getting a result for Reading."

Reading lost 3-0 at home to fellow strugglers Wigan last weekend to fall back into the relegation places in the Premier League.

But Akpan claims the players are not letting the defeat play on their minds and believes a positive result at Everton is achievable.

"After a result like we had on Saturday I think we just need to let it go," he said.

"It was a bad day for the players and the club, we've moved on now and are ready for the game on Saturday."

Source: PA