Victor Anichebe and Andrew Johnson could return for Everton against Derby on Sunday. Both players trained on Friday after missing out the Merseyside derby last week. But there is a major worry over Steven Pienaar. Johnson was suffering with a groin problem, while Anichebe is on the road to recovery following illness. But South African Pienaar took a bang to the lower leg at Anfield last week and hasn’t trained all week. Tony Hibbert is also a slight doubt with a hip injury. Blues manager David Moyes told evertonfc.com: “Things are looking a wee bit better. Andy Johnson did some training today, Victor did some training today. “Steven took a knock in the derby so he hasn’t trained and Tony Hibbert has a sore hip – those are the main candidates.” Long term injury victims James Vaughan and Tim Cahill are both sidelined as well.
Former Blue Alan Stubbs has backed Everton to battle to the death for a fourth place finish. His new club, Derby County, visit Goodison on Sunday and he is in no doubt how important the contest is for his former teammates. He said: “Itâ€™s a big game on Sunday, particularly after the disappointment of losing at Anfield last week. Everyone will be looking for them to get back on track right away. “There is no doubt there has been a bit of a blip and injuries have played a part but I know there is no way the lads in that dressing room, or the manager, will let the season fizzle out or down tools. It just wonâ€™t happen. “It was a big ask for Everton to finish fourth this season but, until it is a mathematical impossibility, the players will keep going, Iâ€™m sure of that. “They have come too far this season to throw it away. They have made huge strides.” Stubbs, who has been talking exclusively to the Official Matchday Programme for Sunday’s game, left Everton in January to link-up with Paul Jewell at this weekendâ€™s opponents Derby County. He remains philosophical about the move. He told Sundayâ€™s edition of efc: â€œIt was going to come to an end for me sooner or later. This season that has happened. Three very adaptable players have taken on my position. â€œIn that department weâ€™re very strong now. Thatâ€™s great. Iâ€™ve been privileged to be a fan and a player. Now Iâ€™m back to being a fan.â€