Blackburn v Everton preview
Everton will be hoping to avoid last season's poor opening day display when they meet Blackburn.
By Jonathan Witty
Last Updated: 13/08/10 1:09pm
Everton will be hoping to banish memories of last season's dismal opening day display when they travel to Blackburn.
The Toffees suffered a 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Arsenal on the first day of the 2009/10 campaign, which triggered a poor run of form that saw them struggle for the first half of the season.
Long-term injuries to key men Phil Jagielka and Mikel Arteta did not help their cause and supporters will be hoping they can show some of the form which saw David Moyes' men beat Manchester United and Chelsea after Christmas.
Blackburn also suffered an opening day defeat last term to Manchester City, but boss Sam Allardyce will be much more realistic about his side's prospects.
The former Bolton manager was hopeful that a takeover of the club would be complete before the end of the transfer window, but with that looking unlikely, his hands have been tied in the transfer market.
Manchester United loanee Mame Biram Diouf and Hugo Fernandez are the only new faces at Ewood Park and Rovers could face a tricky season.
History is on their side however, as their last opening day victory was a 3-2 win against Everton.
Moyes' men will be keen to get off to a good start this term and will be keen to repeat last season's double over their north-west rivals
Rovers boss Allardyce has to make a decision on whether to include new boy Diouf in his matchday squad.
The Senegal international, who scored for his country in midweek, has played only 45 minutes for his new team but did score in last weekend's friendly victory over Hearts.
Midfielder Vince Grella (calf) is the only absentee.
Everton boss Moyes faces a difficult team selection with new striker Jermanine Beckford threatening to break in to the starting XI.
The former Leeds forward has impressed in pre-season and could feature with Louis Saha in the Toffees attack.
Manager Moyes has a clean bill of health, which will be a huge relief after last season's challenging injury list.
Possible starting XIs:
Blackburn: Robinson, Jones, Salgado, Givet, Samba, Emerton, Dunn, Nzonzi, Pedersen, EH Diouf, MB Diouf
Everton: Howard, Baines, Jagielka, Distin, Hibbert, Arteta, Cahill, Fellaini, Pienaar, Bilyaletdinov, Saha.