Premier League: Everton manager Sam Allardyce worried with team's long injury list ahead of gruelling schedule
'A lot of big players missing from this squad. We’re still getting results and will improve even more when these players get back,' said the Everton manager.
Everton manager Sam Allardyce is concerned that the club’s long injury list could derail their recent upturn in fortunes during a congested Premier League festive period.
Winger Yannick Bolasie is the only one of Everton’s seven injured players close to a first-team return with the Merseyside club looking to extend their unbeaten run after two wins and a draw in their last three games.
"We’ve got Maarten Stekelenburg, Leighton Baines, Seamus Coleman, Ross Barkley, Ramiro Funes Mori, James McCarthy, Yannick Bolasie - all out," Allardyce told reporters ahead of Wednesday’s league trip to Newcastle United.
"A lot of big players missing from this squad. We’re still getting results and will improve even more when these players get back."
“We need to integrate them back into the squad as soon as possible... I‘m looking forward to it.”
Everton have climbed out of the danger zone and into 10th position under Allardyce but he is determined to keep the players focused during a packed schedule, cancelling the club’s festive celebrations.
"It is not needed at the moment and because of the position we were in when I first arrived here," Allardyce said.
"I told the players I will pay them back when they come out of Christmas and into January in a better position ..."
"The party is off until there is a period of time when we are in a very good position and I can tell the lads they can have the relaxing time that they deserve."
Following Wednesday’s trip to Newcastle, Everton will play five more league games in the space of two weeks.
Townsend, 30, was a free agent after his contract with Crystal Palace expired at the end of last season.
The AFC confirmed that the playoff and group stage (South) matches of the second-tier continental club competition will be held in the Maldives.
The news follows a two-year transfer ban imposed on the club Friday by FIFA for bringing underage Nigerian players to Italy in breach of national immigration laws