- Europa League group game updates from the 6pm GMT game
- Allardyce to miss Everton’s Europa League match to focus on derby
- Email your thoughts to Nick, or tweet him @NickMiller79
Do you think Sam will be Facetiming the bench tonight? Maybe tape an iPad to a broom and prop it up in the dugout. Strap his earpiece on the side, for realism.
Craig Shakespeare, the hand on the tiller tonight, has been speaking: “This gives the fringe players that game opportunity…you’re always learning about your players…if they show that application, the door is never shut.”
While we’re waiting for this one to start, here’s Liam Rosenior’s excellent column from this week, on how we could be losing a generation of BAME coaches if we don’t implement some sort of Rooney Rule into English football.
I remember bumping into a black former team-mate of a mine who’d won the Champions Leagues, league titles and had a career at the very highest level with club and country. When I told him I had the ambition to manage and coach after my career was over he winked and scoffed: “You’ve got no chance of a job!” I’ve seen discrimination as a young boy when my father was turned away from an opposing team boardroom when going to meet his chairman because the doorman said: “There’s no way you are the manager.”
So, for those of you keeping track, that’s a stonking 20 changes made between the two sides from their last league games. As you’ll know, so much so it almost seems pointless for me to mention it, the two who keep their places are Apollon’s Brazilian midfielder Allan and skipper for the evening Fotis Papoulis. Perhaps they’re being punished for some sort of infraction. In case you’re interested, that last Apollon fixture was a 6-0 victory over Pafos, who featured erstwhile West Ham midfielder Diego Poyet in their ranks.
The lowest squad number on Everton’s bench is 41.
Kissas; Joao Pedro, Pitian, Roberge, Jander; Allan, Sachetti; Martinez; Sardinero, Schembri, Papoulis. Subs: Vale, Zelaya, Stylianou, Yuste, Pittas, Vasilou, Jakolis.
If you want an indication of the Guardian’s absolute dedication to our craft, to the game, and indeed to you, it’s this: we’re bothering with this match and the Everton manager isn’t. Are we heroes? That’s really not for us to say. But we certainly wouldn’t shy away from such adulation.
This is of course an entirely meaningless game. Both sides are out, and they could probably do without such an encounter this Thursday, with big games coming up at the weekend. Everton face Liverpool on Sunday, which is why Big Sam has stopped at home, to study the tapes of Sadio Mane, Phil Coutinho et al doing awful things to defences all over the show (also to attend a ‘medical appointment’, apparently). Apollon, meanwhile, have that big 5th vs 7th clash against Omonia Nicosia on Monday.
Nick will be here shortly.