Everton v Leicester preview: Seamus Coleman returns to squad after leg break
Last Updated: 31/01/18 6:50pm
Everton manager Sam Allardyce has confirmed that Seamus Coleman will be in the squad for the visit of Leicester on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old full-back has been out since suffering a broken leg playing for the Republic of Ireland against Wales last March, but his return comes as a huge boost to the Toffees.
"He's training regularly and is in the squad for Wednesday," Allardyce said. "Touch wood from here on in he can have an injury-free run until the end of the season. He's a very important player and he needs time.
"If and when he does play he needs time, he's been out for an awful long time, as is the same with Yannick [Bolasie, who returned from a serious knee injury in December].
"He's had such a long period of time out he can't be expected to hit his top form immediately.
"But it's very important to have him back with his influence not just as a player, but as a person and a human being."
Claude Puel takes his team to Merseyside on a six-match unbeaten run but the Frenchman anticipates a tough game, believing Everton have made strides since the 2-0 defeat at the King Power Stadium in October.
"They're a good team with quality in their squad," he said. "They've spent £200m in the last 12 months, so we know this team is dangerous with a lot of quality.
"We will have to have good focus and concentration. It's not the same team as in my first game with Leicester. They were low in confidence but I think they now play well. It'll be a tough game."
Allardyce has confirmed that Luke Garbutt will be included in the squad but Leighton Baines remains out with a calf strain.
James McCarthy, meanwhile, is recovering in his hometown of Glasgow after a successful operation while Ramiro Funes Mori is back training with the first team.
Leicester will be close to full strength with captain Wes Morgan likely to be the only absentee on Merseyside.
Morgan suffered a hamstring injury in the 3-0 win over Huddersfield on New Year's Day, but he has returned to training.
Foxes boss Claude Puel made 10 changes for the FA Cup win over Peterborough and must make a decision on whether to retain Fousseni Diabate and Kelechi Iheanacho in the starting line-up after both scored braces against the Sky Bet League One outfit.
Strikers Leonardo Ulloa and Ahmed Musa have left the club, joining Brighton and CSKA Moscow respectively on loan deals until the end of the season.
- Everton have only failed to score in two of their last 15 Premier League games against Leicester City, although one of those blanks came this season (also 0-0 in November 2001).
- The Toffees have won two of their last three Premier League meetings with the Foxes, as many as in their previous 15 combined.
- The Foxes have kept clean sheets in all three of their Premier League games in 2018 so far - there have only been eight previous occasions of a club keeping a clean sheet in their first four games of a calendar year in the competition, most recently by Manchester City in 2013.
- Jamie Vardy has scored three goals in his last three Premier League appearances against Everton. The England forward has scored three and assisted two more in his five league games against the Toffees overall.
- Riyad Mahrez's goal against Watford took him to 59 Premier League goals or assists for Leicester (35 goals, 24 assists) - only Jamie Vardy (72) has been involved in more for the Foxes in the competition (Muzzy Izzet also 59).
Everton desperately need a result. They had that run where we all thought they'd be fine but they are right back in the relegation scrap for me. They've had a couple of really bad results recently - they were very fortunate to draw with West Brom at home - and I think their poor form will continue against Leicester.
Claude Puel's side will set up on the counter-attack and Everton, at home, will have a go. The crowd will push them forward but that will play into Leicester's hand because of how well they counter-attack. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez will also be fresh after being rested at the weekend so I can't see anything but an away win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2
Sky Bet find it impossible to pick a favourite for the Goodison Park clash, with both sides priced at 17/10 for the win while a draw is a 21/10 chance.
Jamie Vardy (4/1) is followed by Cenk Tosun (5/1) in the first goalscorer betting, while Theo Walcott is enhanced from 8/1 to 12/1 to break the deadlock in Sky Bet's Price Boosts.
Wednesday night's Premier League clashes make up the midweek Super 6 line-up, with the £1million still to be won.