With the circus surrounding John Stones’ transfer request its easy to forget that we actually have a game tonight.
Our first outing in the Capital One Cup is bizarrely against John Stones’ former side Barnsley.
When the draw was made it was one of fairy tales, reuniting our John with his former side, a hero’s return with both set of supporters signing his name. Unfortunately I can’t see that happening now.
As we all know John Stone’s looks destined for the exit door after according to Sky Sports officially handing a transfer request in before yesterday afternoons training session. As of yet the club are still to comment on reports, with fans fearing the worst. However regardless of the result tonight the circus that is ‘the John Stones affair’ will overshadow any performance. Nevertheless we have a match to win.
Barnsley is a team we have an excellent record against, having not been beaten by the South Yorkshire side since 1951. Their League Cup record is nearly as woeful as ours thankfully, and they have failed to score in five out of the last six League Cup matches at Oakwell.
The Tykes have no injury worries ahead of this evening game and will field their strongest team. Conor Hourihane is certainly one of their danger men. He has a great engine and can find the net from spectacular efforts, so we will have to make sure he is given as little room as possible. Another player to watch out for it Alfie Mawson another very talented young defender, who was recently voted the 50th best player in the Football League. Some recognition considering the amount of players plying their trade in the FL72.
We no doubt will have our hands full with the League 1 side, as previously mentioned our League Cup record is horrendous. We have been eliminated in our last five League Cup away games.
Things have got to change though and I’m hoping Martinez sees this as a good opportunity to progress in a cup competition.
The only player missing from the Manchester City defeat will be Brendan Galloway and more than likely John Stones after yesterdays events.
We need to send out as strong a side as possible, get the game won then bring in some of the fringe players to get minutes under their belts. Mirallas and Deulofeu need match practice so hopefully both will start. Joel needs to start as Howard’s part in both City goals on Sunday was embarrassing. Browning will come in for Stones no doubt and Martinez has already stated that Oviedo will start. Barring that I expect a strong line up.
Probable Everton XI: Joel, Oviedo, Jagielka, Browning, Coleman, Besic, Barry, Barkley, Mirallas, Deulofeu, Lukaku
The game is live on Sky Sports at 19:45, with the winners playing Reading away in Round 3.
With what Stones and the Club have put us through the past 24 hours, we are due a good win. Lets hope the players who want to be here put in a shift and we come away with the victory and place in the next round.
Come on you Blues!