Friday, 29 April 2016

Rival Lines: Lukaku and Pellegrini to be at Goodison next season?

Rival Lines
Everton v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Shoot Everton blog 

Twitter: @Tobybryant123 

I found it difficult to get hold of an Everton blogger as none of their sites likes to reply to email requests - perhaps they get too many or they have just had enough of this season. Any way, I did track down Toby Bryant who writes on Shoot - the voice of football's blog for Everton fans. You can view all of Toby's articles this season on the Shoot website, where you'll also find some my own articles under the Bournemouth Shoot blog account.

CC: Do you see Roberto Martinez being in charge of Everton next season and if not who do Everton need - and is Eddie Howe a strong candidate when the likes of Klopp are just down the road?

TB: It's hard to tell with Bill Kenwright. The owner is famed for being patient with managers and although all the fans are screaming out for Martinez to go it still might not happen. Hopefully new co-owner Farhard Moshiri will give him the boot. With the squad we have the results are despicable and show no sign of improvement so as far as I am concerned Martinez's position is untenable.

In terms of replacements Manuel Pellegrini is the stand-out option. He is proven at this level and works well with the kind of technical players that the Toffees have. However, whether Everton could realistically attract him is questionable. Frank De Boer and Marco Biesla are two other names being thrown around. I believe that the bigger name manager the better. It's time that Everton take themselves seriously as a big club, not one (that used to be) punching above its weight. Therefore appointing Eddie Howe would surprise me given his lack of top flight experience.

CC: Where should this Everton side be in the table?

TB: The current squad is by far the best in the last decade yet we are set for our worst league finish since 2004. The top five has been very competitive this season so, even playing well, Europe would have been a struggle but the top seven should have been comfortable achievable.

CC: Do you hold out much hope of keeping Lukaku this summer?

TB: Romelu Lukaku has saved our season but I cannot see him staying at the club. He is capable of bigger and better things and it is best for his career if he does move on. I would love the big Belgian to stay with us but I hold out little hope. The best we can hope for is a large wad of cash then the board can spend on a new manager's wages!

CC: Why do you think John Stones's form has dipped so much?

TB: It's difficult to say. He made some high-profile mistakes so his confidence will have been affected. That said, I don't know if it's a bad thing. The centre-back has a tendency to play the risky ball a little too often when a big clearance would be more effective. His form may have dipped but in the long-run it's probably a good thing.

CC: Do you think the side has learnt anything since the match earlier in the season against AFCB?

TB: The 3-3 draw at Bournemouth was the start of the downfall in our season. I would love to be able to say that the side have learnt from conceding those late goals but I'm afraid we haven't. It has happened time after time, even against United in the FA Cup semi-final last weekend. The back-line have a tendency to switch-off at the worst moments which is detrimental for the side. In short, no.

CC: Are there any injuries in the side at the moment and players likely to not play against AFCB?

TB: Seamus Coleman has a hamstring strain and is unlikely to feature. Gareth Barry is also a doubt but could recover from a knock. Ramiro Funes Mori will also be missing as he is suspended which is a shame as he has been one player who has managed to impress this term. 

CC: For many AFCB fans this will be their first visit to Goodison Park so what should they look out for?

TB: I love Goodison Park but Bournemouth fans should be prepared for how old the stadium is! Rickety stands, hard seats and obtrusive white poles are all present. The stadium has a great character and the atmosphere is always good, although it may be a little hostile towards Martinez this weekend! Also keep an eye out for the Toffees' Everton mint girl if you fancy a free sweetie.

CC: Finally, can we have a score prediction?

TB: 1-1

CC: Thanks Toby for stepping in and answering my questions from an Everton fan view. There is some need for AFCB to register a point at least for this game, so I don't think AFCB fans would be too disappointed if your score prediction came right. Like Everton, the Cherries season has run out of steam and while both sides play entertaining football I am hoping that we see some real quality play at Goodison and lots of goals as I am scheduled to be on the fabulous All Departments podcast after the game.

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