Everton vs Blackpool – Match preview and prediction

Everton fans tend to leave their optimism at home until January judging on previous seasons. David Moyes’ men have not lost since their rearranged fixture with Tottenham at White Hart Lane on the 11th January and have beaten Manchester City and Chelsea in recent weeks. The Toffees welcome Championship side Blackpool to Goodison Park in what could be a superb fifth round FA Cup tie.

Moyes will bid farewell to on-loan forward Landon Donovan, whose second loan spell with the club ends following the Blackpool fixture. The American may miss out on saying goodbye to the Everton fans, as he is currently suffering from flu, but is expected to battle through and make the substitutes bench. Everton are certainly without another loanee in Steven Pienaar, who is cup-tied after playing for Tottenham in a previous round. January signing Nikica Jelavic is suffering from athletic pubalgia and the Toffees are also without Jack Rodwell, Phi Jagielka and Leon Osman through injuries. Seamus Coleman has returned from his thigh problem and has been challenged by Moyes to recapture the form he was in a year ago, especially with the impending exit of Donovan to MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy.

Blackpool arrive on Merseyside still unbeaten in 2012 and picked up a good victory at Doncaster in the Championship on Valentine’s Day. Ian Holloway has praised his opposition manager for the work he has done at Goodison Park, but is looking to halt Everton’s progress and lead Blackpool to the quarter-finals for the first time in 53 years. The Tangerines may have one eye on their crunch Championship fixture with West Ham in midweek, as Holloway looks to get back into the Premier League following last season’s heartbreaking relegation. Winger Matt Phillips missed the win at the Keepmoat Stadium and is a fitness doubt for the trip to Everton. Holloway is expected to keep faith in on-loan signing Nouha Dicko if Phillips does not make the game and could recall Craig Cathcart, Danny Wilson and Chris Basham after their absence on Tuesday.

The Toffees got a break in midweek following their excursions in the 2-0 victory over Chelsea last weekend and may be fresher than Blackpool on Saturday. Moyes will be happy that Matt Phillips is out of action, with the young winger in great form this season, but experienced Blackpool striker Kevin Phillips still has the goalscoring threat that evoke memories of the 30 goals he scored for Sunderland in the 1999/2000 season. Everton have a tough task against the Seasiders, but will be confident that their Premier League quality can put them into the quarter finals of the FA Cup.

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