Inside Track: Everton

By SFC Media Thu 17 Jan Saints v Everton
Photo by Alex Livesey | Getty Images

We spoke to the Liverpool Echo's Everton correspondent Phil Kirkbride to get the lowdown on Saints' next opponents in the Premier League.

How would you assess Everton’s season so far?

Mixed. Everton's form has been up and down – quite a way down over the Christmas period – but a win last weekend against Bournemouth is, hopefully, the start of a consistent run.

Expectation is always high at Goodison Park and the club have spent big money. What do the supporters make of the job Marco Silva is doing?

There is an expectation that the team would be higher than 10th but there is also an understanding that Marco has had only one window and, together with the club's director of football Marcel Brands, is set on transforming the squad. It will take time. This will not be a quick fix.

Who have been the standout players in recent weeks?

The win over Bournemouth saw excellent performances from Ademola Lookman, a player the Southampton manager knows well, and Bernard. Lucas Digne stood out in that game too and there's a feeling among Evertonians that he has been the club's signing of the summer.

What sort of player is the club hoping to attract in the transfer window, if any?

Fans have been told to expect a quiet window. Brands has been upfront and honest about his view on January deals and, in a nutshell, is not a big fan of the winter window. But he didn't completely rule it out and Silva gave fans a slither of hope a new arrival could happen – only if players left. At the top of pretty much every Blues' shopping list is a striker.

What would constitute a successful season for Everton?

It's a burning question for everyone around the club. Silva is refusing to publicly set targets but talks of doing better than last season. In the table, that would mean seventh or above but it also has to mean there have been improvements in the team's style of play. Some supporters would say the success or failure of the season now hinges on the FA Cup and that an average league finish would be accepted as part of the rebuilding job – if Everton do well in the cup.

What do you expect from the game?

A tough one. St Mary's hasn't been a happy hunting ground in recent seasons for Everton (last season's defeat still sends shivers down the spine) and Hasenhüttl seems to have reinvigorated the Saints. Everton's away form has been dreadful for a number of seasons so this has all the makings of a difficult afternoon.

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