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Everton v Aston Villa

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Lambert: Feeling the heat

Lambert: Feeling the heat

Everton entertain struggling Aston Villa at Goodison Park on Saturday with a Champions League place firmly in their sights.

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Following their impressive 2-1 win over West Brom in midweek, the Toffees find themselves in fifth place on 41 points and will move into the fourth and final Champions League place with a win, coupled with a Spurs loss or draw.

David Moyes' side have lost just twice in their last 10 league matches and will surely look to inflict more pain on the struggling Villans on Saturday.

The Scot will have virtually a full strength squad for the visit of Villa with only Seamus Coleman (thigh) and Tony Hibbert (calf) on the sidelines.

Expect Moyes to keep his starting lineup relatively unchanged for the trip to Birmingham with Kevin Mirallas possibly coming in for Steven Naismith, after the Belgian has notched up a few appearances from the bench since returning from injury.

Villa, meanwhile, have been woeful of late and cast further doubt over their top flight status after their disappointing loss to Newcastle United in midweek.

The 2-1 loss was Paul Lambert's sides' 12th of the season, moving them into the relegation zone and Paul Lambert, despite the constant backing from chairman from chairman Randy Lerner, is starting to feel the heat.

One win in their last 10 League games represents their worst run of the season and Lambert will be desperate for a win against the Toffees.

He will, however, have to do it without a number of regular first team players; defender Ryan Dunne (groin); midfielders Chris Herd, Mark Albrighton (both ankle), Gary Gardner (ACL) and Stilyan Petrov (Leukaemia) are all sidelined for an extended period.

Fabian Delph could return after recovering from an ankle injury that kept him out of the visit the Magpies but he faces a late fitness test ahead of the clash.

Darren Bent will likely partner Christian Benteke up front with the talented Charles N'Zogbia and speedy Gabriel Agbonlahor expected to start out wide.

Posted: 01/02/13 14:40

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