Team News: Everton
Watch Javi Gracia's pre-match press conference above, or read on below.
By Kevin Affleck
Javi Gracia has been handed a significant boost with the news that Abdoulaye Doucouré is fit to take his place in the squad to face Everton at the weekend.
Doucouré has been missing since the game against Crystal Palace after he picked up a knee injury in the first half at Crystal Palace. He was ruled out of games against Burnley, Newcastle, Tottenham and Brighton, but Gracia is banking on including the French midfielder in his squad of 18 for the game at Vicarage Road.
“He is training with the team and I think he is ready for the next game,” Gracia said. “I think he will be ready, but we’ll decide the line-up tomorrow. He will be in a good condition to compete.”
In a double boost to the Head Coach’s meticulous plans, Kiko Femenía is also available following the hamstring injury he sustained late on against Burnley.
“We have two players, in Kiko and Doucouré, who have both been injured the last week, but they started training this week and both have possibilities to play.”
The return of Doucouré and Femenía will offset the continued absence of Roberto Pereyra, the team’s top-scorer with seven goals. He will be missing again as a result of the injury he sustained against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium.
“It is something in his hamstring” said Gracia. “He needs more time to recover. In a couple of days we’ll see if he will be ready. It is always important not to lose one player like Roberto, but you know I don’t like to complain about players I don’t have. I prefer to focus on players I have available.”
To that end, Gracia did not want to dwell too long on other absentees, Isaac Success and Sebastian Prödl, confirming only they are “out of the team.”