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Saints to be tricky rivals

By Chris Kirwan
October 17 2003

On Sunday Everton face a Southampton side whose foray into Europe lasted as long as the average Everton League Cup run. Once again the Sky love affair with this fixture continues.

Last season saw the Saints’ visit to Goodison produce the Blues’ goal of the season. Tomasz Radzinski’s last minute winner seemed a crucial goal in the bid to qualify for Europe, and it was his absence at the tail end that led to the slip to seventh.

Gordon Strachan’s sides are always a tough prospect, and this summer’s addition of Kevin Phillips gives James Beattie a top quality strike partner. Luckily Phillips is suspended, so Brett Ormerod will deputise. Southampton are a good side with some excellent players and it cshould be a tricky afternoon for Everton.

The Blues will be missing the suspended Rooney, but have plenty of options up front. Kevin Campbell impressed on his return for the reserves, and Franny Jeffers will be pushing for a recall. At the back Stubbs could be fit, but Weir’s ready to step in. Moyes said: “Alan Stubbs we feared was going to be out for a longer period, but he’s doing well and still has an outside chance for the weekend.”

Moyes will be hoping McFadden repeats his excellent international form. More goals from the other flank would also go down well as Steve Watson continues his mission for the golden boot.

With the Blues’ away form is looking decidedly patchy it is essential that they pick up maximum points from their games at Goodison. Southampton and Everton will probably finish the season with similar points tallies so Moyes will be drumming into his players the importance of beating the Saints. The Sky viewers will see a tight battle, but the Blues’ options up front will hopefully give them the edge.

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