Everton injury crisis ahead of Merseyside derby

Last updated at 10:01 23 March 2008

Everton are facing an injury nightmare ahead of next weekend's crunch

Merseyside derby at Liverpool as they bid to keep their push for fourth place on track.

Midfielder Tim Cahill is believed to have suffered a recurrence of a foot

injury, and limped out of Saturday's 1-1 draw with West Ham after just 10


Boss David Moyes said: "We are not really sure how bad he is, we will have to

assess the injury."

That will almost certainly mean that Cahill will not be travelling to China to

play for Australia in midweek.

But that is not the only worry for Moyes ahead of an Anfield clash that could

decide who takes the final Champions League berth.

Joseph Yobo missed the West Ham game with a foot injury picked up in training,

while midfielder Steven Pienaar was ruled out with a flu bug.

Cahill, Yobo and Pienaar are all now fighting for fitness to face Rafael

Benitez's men. And Pienaar's chances of playing for South Africa against

Paraguay this week are clearly in serious doubt.

However, teenage striker Victor Anichebe will be involved in an Olympic

qualifier for Nigeria.

The injuries have come at just the wrong time for Moyes, who has seen his side

dropp five of their last six points, after following defeat at Fulham with a

frustrating draw against West Ham yesterday.

But midfielder Leon Osman believes the side can bounce back. He said: "We have

to pick ourselves up now and make sure we get three points at Anfield, we can

handle this.

"The West Ham game was good preparation for the derby because it became 100

mph out there, end to end, and that is the way it will go next week so it was

good for us to be involved in a game like that."

And versatile defender Leighton Baines, who played in midfield against the

Hammers, does not believe that Everton are getting weary after a tough season.

The West Ham match was their 47th of the campaign.

He said: "I don't think we're getting tired, there are people who play 50

games a season every year. At the moment we just have some injuries and a few

players to come back and hopefully that will be soon. We are all still confident

ahead of the Liverpool match."

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