Bolton manager Gary Megson is hopeful Andy O'Brien will be fit for selection for Sunday's Barclays Premier League encounter with Everton.

Posted Sunday, October 25, 2009 by PA

Defender O'Brien should be available to play at the Reebok Stadium after overcoming a groin problem, but striker Johan Elmander remains a doubt having not yet fully recovered from his hamstring injury.

Joey O'Brien and Sean Davis are both long-term absentees with knee injuries.

Zat Knight believes Bolton are ready to secure their first home win of the season in the Premier League.

Wanderers have received plaudits for their recent form, which has included a five-match unbeaten run and impressive performances against Tottenham and Manchester United, but so far a league victory at the Reebok Stadium has eluded them.

Having opened the campaign with two defeats, the team's improvement since then has been encouraging. But Knight knows that winning home fixtures will be essential if they are to push on - starting with the visit of Everton.

"I think we can do it on Sunday," said Knight.

"I believe in the Premier League that if you can win your home games, that is a big part of survival in the league. But it is also a big part of the other goals you want to achieve, if you want to finish in Europe or in the top half.

"You have to start doing things at home, and then on the road you can pick up a point here and there. It all stems from the matches at home."

Everton's displays over the last couple of weeks suggest they could be the perfect opponents for Bolton right now, in their quest for a home win.

The Toffees have disappointed in consecutive 1-1 draws at home to Stoke and Wolves in the league and were thrashed 5-0 by Benfica on Thursday in the Europa League, but Knight for one will not be under-estimating David Moyes' side.

"We can look back at their weaknesses and where they got punished, but obviously they are going to want to bounce back and get something on Sunday against us," said Knight.

"I think we just have to go into it with our own game and be strong-minded.

"If we can bring the form that we showed in the second half against Man United, I'm sure we can beat them."

Everton manager Moyes finds himself in the middle of an injury crisis.

Russian winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is the latest casualty, suffering a thigh problem in the 5-0 defeat by Benfica.

Joseph Yobo (head), Leon Osman (ankle) and Leighton Baines (calf) remain doubtful after sitting out the game after being injured following the draw against Wolves at the weekend - but Lucas Neill and John Heitinga are are available again after being ineligible for Thursday night's game.

Moyes has a chilling warning for his Everton stars - 'keep making mistakes and you will be axed'.

The Everton boss admits he cannot afford to take such action at the moment due to the injury crisis.

But he warns that when he is able to choose from a full-strength squad, some players will be punished for their mistakes.

Moyes said: "We must make sure we do not have any loss of confidence after what happened against Benfica. We did pretty well in the first half - we did not 'park the bus' and just defend.

"I told them after the game that they must learn from their mistakes. But they kept going - and even when we were 4-0 down, we were trying to get forward to score.

"But in truth, if you keep making mistakes you won't be in the team. You cannot play for Everton and make mistakes.

"Maybe at the moment, when we do not have too many to choose from, you will stay in the side even if you are making mistakes.

"But when we do get our squad strength back, we will not be tolerating mistakes. We will be a lot tougher on that than we can be now."

There is mitigation for Everton's current troubles on the pitch.

"Injuries hurt everyone," Moyes notes.

"All clubs have them, but even Liverpool have shown that you will lose matches without your best players.

"We have been without some of our best players since half-way through last season. Eventually that takes a toll in terms of results and performances.

"Everton do not do defeats. We don't lose twice on the trot. That is our attitude, to be tough and bounce back.

"But we are introducing too many new players all at once. There are not too many who know yet the way we do things and the way we work.

"I hope it gets through to them that we do not do defeats too often. I hope they understand that."




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