Everton v Hajduk Split preview: Sandro Ramirez a doubt for hosts
Last Updated: 17/08/17 8:12pm
Sandro Ramirez is a doubt for the first leg of Everton's Europa League play-off clash with Hajduk Split.
The Spanish forward sustained a heel injury in the 1-0 Premier League win over Stoke on Saturday and will be assessed ahead of the clash with the Croatian outfit.
Meanwhile, Gylfi Sigurdsson's switch from Swansea to Everton moved a step closer to completion on Wednesday when Everton boss Ronald Koeman confirmed the midfielder had passed his medical.
The Iceland international will not feature in against Hajduk Split, but Koeman revealed he could make his Everton debut in the Monday Night Football clash with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, which is live on Sky Sports Premier League.
"He will not be involved tomorrow," Koeman said. "Maybe for Monday, I do not know. I need to talk to him and know what his physical state is. Let's wait to see how the fitness is."
Hajduk Split, who currently sit second behind Dinamo Zagreb in the Croatian First Football League, stand in the Everton's way for a place in the Europa League group stages and Koeman insists his side are fully prepared for the challenge the Croatian side will present.
"We know a lot about them," said Koeman. "We have a video of them. They do not have any secrets from us and we do not have any from them. We know we will need to be at our best to get a result and, at least, a clean sheet at home - to give ourselves the best chance to reach the group stages."
Ross Barkley remains unavailable for Everton having suffered an apparent hamstring injury.
The same applies to fellow midfielder James McCarthy, who has picked up a knock to his knee.
Everton have won seven of their last nine European games (inc. qualifiers), including victories in each of their last three home games.
Indeed, the Toffees have claimed victory in six of their last seven European games at Goodison Park, with their only loss coming in the 2014/15 group stages against FK Krasnodar, after already qualifying from the group.
Everton were last in the Europa League play-off round in 2009/10, beating Sigma Olomouc 5-1 on aggregate over two legs.
Hajduk Split have lost four of their last five European games against English opposition (D1), losing both of their most recent encounters against Stoke City in Europa League qualifying in 2011.
The Croatian side have lost on six of their seven visits to England in European competition (D1), failing to score on five of the last six trips.
Rooney has scored 39 goals in European competition, although all of these were for Manchester United (a club record total).
Charlie Nicholas' prediction
I covered Everton at the weekend and they were very poor. Rooney was the best player on the pitch by miles - the only player finding his range - and Koeman's face was miserable except for when their returning hero scored.
They started with three at the back and then switched to a four. Three central midfield players and three at the back is just too many defensive players and does not make for exciting viewing.
Koeman needs to go out and get another centre-forward because Sandro Ramirez needs a partner. They'll get rid of Barkley and Sigurdsson will probably come in but it doesn't matter because they need more attacking movement as Rooney has the greatest impact playing deeper.
They were decent at the back and Jordan Pickford was very good on his debut, making some excellent saves, but Everton have not got many goals in them. They should have enough to come through here, though, against a side who don't have much in terms of attacking threats.
Charlie predicts: 2-0 (9/2 with Sky Bet)