Team News: Everton
Quique Sánchez Flores sounded like someone who was giving serious consideration to using players from the Under-23 side for the Carabao Cup trip to Everton.
The Head Coach will be without the injured Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, Troy Deeney, Étienne Capoue, Ismaïla Sarr and Isaac Success for the game at Goodison Park and, given the importance of the game at Vicarage Road against Chelsea on Saturday, he may decide to rest some of those who played 90 minutes in a full-blooded game with Bournemouth on Saturday.
“It's clear for me we must use this competition to use other players,” he said.
That could mean opportunity knocks for Heurelho Gomes, Domingos Quina, Dimitiri Foulqiuer, Adrian Mariappa, Andre Gray and Will Hughes while some of the star performers from the club's table-topping Under-23 team could be rewarded for their form for Hayden Mullins' side. Sánchez Flores has regularly used the young pros in training to supplement his squad and work on shape and drills since he returned to the club.
Sánchez Flores may need midfield cover as Cleverley is a fresh injury worry after he limped off early on against the Cherries with a heel problem.
“We don't know exactly the injury but we are checking, it is a new one,” he said. “Other players are recovering and improving. We will see in the future. We know Cleverley has a problem with his heels before, others with hamstring, others who didn't do pre-season and others who start the season late, like Welbeck and Sarr. They integrated late in the team.”
The Head Coach reported that Capoue is back training, that Success is “very close to coming back” and that he expects Welbeck to be out “two months, three months, maybe more.”
Sánchez Flores said he is working closely with Alberto Leon, the Head of Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation, to get an understanding into the recent spike in injuries.
“It's difficult to know as I can't control what happened before I came here,” he said. “We are working really hard with the medical staff. We are one month and one week in and all the new information is really interesting on the players. We try to investigate but we need to be clever, experienced and we need to know if now the players are working under tensions. Everything is under tension, the muscle, the spirit, the morale. The muscles get tired easier. All this context is important and it's impossible to choose one factor. There are many factors. We need to be clever.”