Everton v Huddersfield preview: Sam Allardyce takes charge of first game
Last Updated: 02/12/17 2:11pm
Sam Allardyce will take charge of Everton for the first time when they host Huddersfield on Saturday.
The 63-year-old was confirmed as the new Toffees manager on Thursday, having been in attendance at Goodison Park for Wednesday night's 4-0 victory over West Ham.
That win was only Everton's second in the last month as, under Ronald Koeman and then David Unsworth, they slid towards the Premier League relegation zone.
However, they are now five points from the bottom three, and Allardyce is looking upwards rather than down.
"Obviously the club has gone through a difficult spell and hopefully I can put that behind us as quickly as possible and start looking upwards again," he said.
"Because, ultimately, it's the ambition of the club, the ambition of the owner and the board, allied to the fact that it's Everton and all the fantastic history, which have proved to be key for me."
Huddersfield have struggled away from home in the Premier League this season, losing every away game without scoring since the opening day win at Crystal Palace. They were beaten 5-0 by Arsenal in midweek.
Oumar Niasse and Michael Keane will be available for selection for Everton. Niasse is back after becoming the first Premier League player to be banned for deceiving a referee, while Keane is fit again.
Leighton Baines is not ready to join them, meaning another outing for Mason Holgate at left-back.
Huddersfield have no new injury worries to contend with and Laurent Depoitre and Tom Ince may both feature after missing out in midweek.
Meanwhile, midfielder Kasey Palmer could also return, although Michael Hefele, Jon Stankovic and Philip Billing are all still out injured.
Everton and Huddersfield will be meeting in league competition for the first time since April 1972, with both sides drawing blanks in a clash at Leeds Road.
Everton last hosted Huddersfield as recently as August 2010 in the League Cup, with the Toffees running out 5-1 winners in a second-round clash.
Huddersfield haven't won away against Everton in any competition since a 2-1 league win in September 1937, drawing two and losing 11 since then.
Everton will be looking to win successive Premier League matches for the first time since April 2017, both of which were at Goodison Park (versus Leicester and Burnley).
Only the Etihad Stadium (31 goals) has seen more Premier League goals scored than Goodison Park (24 - level with Vicarage Road and the Emirates Stadium) this season so far.
Wayne Rooney has scored more goals in his 12 Premier League games for Everton this season (7) than he did in his 25 league appearances for Manchester United last season.
If West Ham had scored the penalty, no way would Everton had won on Wednesday.
They couldn't get out of their half at certain points of the second half. Home advantage will be crucial here against a team that doesn't score goals. The atmosphere wasn't great in that win over West Ham and it won't improve with Sam Allardyce coming in. I don't think the fans want him there - I didn't hear anyone signing his name when they were 4-0 up. It was unusual.
When they lost at Southampton, they looked bang in trouble and they needed Allardyce but a week later they could be in mid-table if they win this one. Football changes quickly. The owners will then be asking themselves would they have gone for Allardyce if they were in the top half of the table - that's the problem.
PAUL PREDICTS: 2-0 (6/1 with Sky Bet)
Everton are Sky Bet's 7/10 favourites for the victory with Huddersfield priced at 4/1 while the draw is a 13/5 chance. The Toffees drifted out from 13/2 to 14/1 for relegation following their 4-0 midweek victory, while their visitors are currently 5/4 for the drop. Wayne Rooney heads the first goalscorer betting at 4/1 and is 50/1 for another hat-trick, while Steve Mounie and Laurent Delpoitre are both 15/2 to break the deadlock.
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