SAM Allardyce brought back Jermaine Defoe to partner Steven Fletcher in attack in the Sunday lunchtime encounter at Goodison – with a warning ringing in the ears of both strikers.
As Everton ended a week in which they mourned and saluted legendary player and boss Howard Kendall, Allardyce has warned Fletcher – and Defoe too – that their futures at the club now depend on performances and, for the forwards, goals.
Defoe (pictured) has been on the fringes of the side since Allardyce arrived to replace Dick Advocaat just as the last international break got underway. Last week he impressed as a first-half substitute in the derby win against Newcastle and he created the opening for Sunderland’s opening goal when Fletcher was taken out and Adam Johnson buried the penalty.
But Big Sam says all his players’ futures will now depend on how they play under him – and now Defoe, linked with a loan move to various clubs in January, must prove his worth now he has been given the chance.
Allardyce has had to shuffle his back four with both skipper John O’Shea and Younges Kaboul out injured. In comes Sebastian Coates, another first half substitute last weekend, and experienced Wes Brown, who has not played since last spring.
For Everton, there were pre-match doubts over defender Seamus Coleman after being struck by a stomach bug – but he was named in the side – and Phil Jagielka is out for up to two months with a knee injury. Leighton Baines and Muhamed Besic have returned to training after lengthy absences but neither made the matchday squad.
25 Funes Mori
03 van Aanholt
14 Jordi Gómez
Ref: Andre Marriner