Watford v Everton preview: Eliaquim Mangala and Seamus Coleman sidelined
Last Updated: 24/02/18 8:03am
Eliaquim Mangala and Seamus Coleman will be sidelined for Everton as they travel to Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.
Sam Allardyce is unsure if Manchester City loanee Mangala (knee) will play again this season having picked up a problem against Crystal Palace, while Coleman, also injured in that game, is struggling with a thigh issue.
"It's a very difficult thing to assess just how long it's going to take, whether it's going to be longer than first predicted or not," he said of Mangala.
"At this early stage, while people put a lot of times on how quick you're going to recover, it can never actually really be the case. It cannot be a certainty that it can be eight, 10, 12 weeks at this early stage. You have to judge it week by week."
Watford have won just one of the 10 Premier League meetings between the two sides, although this did come at Vicarage Road in December 2016 when the Hornets beat Everton 3-2.
Manager Javi Gracia has urged the club's fans to get behind the team and create a similar atmosphere to their 4-1 win against Chelsea, saying: "We try to go on the same way [as we did against Chelsea].
"We got the result with the support of our fans. The next two games we need them as after we have some difficult matches away. It is important the supporters help the team in the next game. I think with the backing of our support we will be able to achieve our objectives."
Although Mangala and Coleman will be unavailable, Leighton Baines is likely to return to the squad for the first time since November after a calf injury.
However, Ramiro Funes Mori (knee) will play for the U23s again before being considered for Allardyce's senior team.
Watford expect to have goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes available again following a back problem, and Miguel Britos (ankle) and Kiko Femenia (hamstring) could also return, along with Will Hughes (hamstring).
Stefano Okaka is also expected to be drafted back into the squad, but Nathaniel Chalobah (knee), Younes Kaboul (foot), Isaac Success and Craig Cathcart (both knee) remain unavailable.
Everton have lost just two of their last 24 matches against Watford in all competitions (W19 D3).
This fixture will see the 11th and 12th different managers take charge in just 10 Premier League matches between these two teams (Watford: Taylor, Boothroyd, Sánchez Flores, Mazzarri, Silva, Gracia & Everton: Smith, Moyes, Martínez, Koeman, Unsworth, Allardyce).
Everton have won just one of their last 21 Premier League games on the road (D9 L11), losing the last three in a row and shipping 11 goals across those three defeats (3.7 per game).
The Toffees have shipped four or more goals in each of their last two away league matches - they last conceded 4+ goals in three consecutive away league games in February 1961.
Following their 4-1 victory over Chelsea on February 5, Watford will be looking to win consecutive home Premier League games for the first time this season and first time since April 2017 (3 in a row).
Oumar Niasse has scored seven Premier League goals this season, with his goals worth seven points - former team-mate Romelu Lukaku's 25 Premier League goals for Everton last season were only worth two more than Niasse has earned for the Toffees this season (9).
Watford have lost four matches in the Premier League from leading positions this season, more than any other side - one of those defeats came against Everton in the reverse fixture, when they surrendered a two-goal lead to lose for the first time in the Premier League.
This is a difficult game to call. Everton have been ripped to shreds in their last two away games, but that was against Arsenal and Tottenham.
I think they'll try to be hard to beat here, so I'm going for a draw.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)