David Moyes had seen his side go unbeaten since January 11th before their disappointing performance in the Merseyside derby at Anfield. As Sunderland come to Goodison Park, Everton will be looking to set off on another run and make a late charge towards another Wembley final appearance.
Everton are expected to make more changes to their squad after the 3-0 loss to Liverpool on Tuesday. Moyes made six changes in midweek and will have to replace Steven Pienaar, who is cup-tied. John Heitinga, Phil Neville, Royston Drenthe, Leon Osman, Tim Cahill and Nikica Jelavic were all rested at Anfield and could be brought back against the Black Cats.
O’Neill is expected to have Nicklas Bendtner available, despite the Danish international leaving the field on a stretcher in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Liverpool. Sunderland could be without Kieran Richardson with a calf problem and Wes Brown, Titus Bramble, Stephane Sessegnon and Lee Cattermole are all ruled out through a mix of injury and suspension. The win over the Reds on Saturday made it just four games out of 18 that the Black Cats have lost and O’Neill has rejuvenated the Stadium of Light side.
Sunderland defeated Arsenal in the last round at the Stadium of Light and will be hopeful of making a trip to the new Wembley for the first time. The Black Cats have horrendous previous form at Goodison Park, having won just twice in 30 years. Their last success came in November 1996 and will be desperate to overturn that poor form and emerge from Merseyside in the hat for the semi-final draw.
David Moyes is celebrating 10 years in charge of Everton since he replaced Walter Smith in 2001after leaving Preston North End. Tuesday night was not the greatest way to help celebrate the anniversary, but victory over Sunderland would go some way to toasting off an inconsistent week. O’Neill is not looking to give the Toffees an easy ride, but with Everton’s current home form, Moyes could be celebrating another trip to Wembley.
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