England’s international cricketers have suffered a number of injury setbacks over the past two seasons.
But his return in recent weeks has finally given Sean Dyche’s men a focal point up front, especially in a 5-1 win at Brighton that could be key to Everton’s survival.
“For two-thirds of my time here we haven’t got the Dome. We’ve still won games, still got points on the board and performed,” Dyche said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“When he got hurt in the first game we knew it wasn’t going to be a minor injury. We knew we had to find a way to work around it. We found that way and it’s important to do that.”
Dyche has Nathan Patterson out and Vitaly Mykolenko doubtful, with other injury problems meaning his usual full-back was not available.
A win for the Goodison Park club would guarantee their survival regardless of results elsewhere.
Everton also face an uncertain future off the field with the club in takeover talks and Dyche admitted his surprise at reports this week that the club are already looking for his successor.
“It’s fair to say ‘interesting’ reports, but I don’t know where they come from,” added the former Burnley boss.
“At the end of the day, there should be good business succession planning. I don’t have a problem with that, even if that’s true.”