Stoke V Everton at Britannia Stadium : Match Preview

15 December 2012 09:18
Stoke V Everton - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Pulis a big admirer of Moyes

Stoke manager Tony Pulis admits to being stunned that David Moyes has not yet been poached by one of the Premier League's big guns.

Not for the first time in his remarkable 10-year career with the Merseyside club, Moyes is again working wonders this season.

Ahead of the visit to Stoke, Everton are riding high in fourth in the top flight after losing just one of their last 11 league games as they push for a place in next season's Champions League.

Sunday's come-from-behind late show at home to Tottenham, in which Everton scored twice in the dying stages for a 2-1 win, epitomised the team spirit fostered by Moyes.

Given the Scot's managerial qualities, it remains a surprise to Pulis the Scot is still at Goodison Park.

"I know David very well. He is a top manager, has done exceptionally well there. They'll be really pleased they've kept him and that he's still there," said Pulis.

"I'm surprised he is still there, to be honest, because I thought one of the big four might have taken him away after serving a first-class apprenticeship there.

"He's now been there a long time, the players know him, the club know him, he's put his stamp on the place, and they're reaping the rewards from it."

Pulis welcomes back midfielder Charlie Adam after completing a one-match ban, but is without right-back Ryan Shotton who serves his own one-game suspension.

Meanwhile, Moyes insists he will not sell players in order to fund the transfer business he wants to do in January.

Losing forward Kevin Mirallas and defender Tony Hibbert to injury for "a few weeks", and the club's current hold on fourth place, has not changed the Scot's view about the forthcoming window.

Everton have habitually sold in order to buy, but Moyes stressed that would not be the case in January, despite speculation suggesting he was willing to offload defender John Heitinga in order to raise money to buy Paris St Germain striker Kevin Gameiro, Toulouse youngster Wissam Ben Yedder and bring back Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott on loan.

"I'd like to (strengthen), but we know I've got a very small amount I could do anything with and I don't think it will probably be enough to make a difference in what we would want to bring in," he said.

"We will probably look and see if there is anything out there but I don't think the situation with Mirallas and Hibbo would change that.

"We wouldn't be letting anyone go, but we would like to add to it if we can, but we can only do that if the players were available and it was the right deal for us."

Losing Mirallas, arguably Everton's most impressive attacking player this season, for an extended spell is a significant blow to the Toffees.

The Belgium international only made his comeback from a hamstring injury in last weekend's win over Tottenham after missing four matches but lasted just 45 minutes.

Even in that time he was Everton's best player and Moyes knows his absence considerably weakens his side.

"It looks like we'll lose Kevin for a few weeks," said Moyes.

"It's a really big blow, anyone who watched the game last week can see that.

"His hamstring isn't just right so it looks like we'll have to take more time over it so it will probably keep him out for a while.

"We thought we had managed it because it was quite a mild hamstring injury which we gave extra time because I was expecting him to be available for the midweek Arsenal game.

"I then didn't use him in the Manchester City game in the hope he would be right for the Tottenham game so we gave him extra days to make sure it was right.

"We now will have to take even more time for us unfortunately and it will be a big miss for us because he gives us a different attacking dimension from what we have and he'll be a loss.

"Tony Hibbert has a recurrence of his calf injury so he is going to have an operation on Monday which will keep him out for a while."

Source: PA