Match Preview: Everton v Salford City

Following a triumphant opening weekend in the Premier League, Everton now turn their attention to a competition the club have never won, as they take on Salford City in the Carabao Cup tomorrow night.

The most intriguing aspect of this game is whether any of the new Everton stars who excelled on Sunday, will take part in this match.

After the manner of the Blues win against Tottenham, it might at first glance seem logical for Carlo Ancelotti to stick to his winning eleven.

Of course, tomorrow’s opponents don’t represent a challenge like Spurs, at least on paper. And several of the players who impressed us all so much last weekend, might well need a little rest before Everton resume Premier League hostilities and host West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Salford City are the club financed by the ‘class of ’92’, that remarkable generation of home-grown players such as David Beckham, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers, who were so instrumental in Manchester United’s dynasty under Sir Alex Ferguson. They have invested heavily in the club and it has enjoyed a rise in fortunes in recent years.

Despite that, this is obviously a game that should be a reasonably straight forward one for the Blues. So Ancelotti might well pick a younger side and give some of his squad players another chance to impress.

Well we’ve thought that about such matches before on many past occasions and in their own inimitable way, the Toffees have then too often come unstuck!

This sort of fixture is the classic banana skin that Everton have so often slipped on in the past. I sincerely hope we don’t see a repeat of such thing tomorrow night.

As for this game, I don’t suppose James Rodriguez will be in the team and perhaps one of Allan or Abdoulaye Doucoure may be rested too.

Personally I would like to see at least a few of the younger players such as Anthony Gordon, Moise Kean and Jarrad Branthwaite given a chance to play. This would seem a perfect opportunity for them to try get a run-out in front of their manager.

Looking then at this season, there has already been talk of qualifying for Europe after Sunday’s impressive win. However, in my view, one of the most important things for Everton to try and achieve, is to reach and win a domestic cup final at long last.

This particular tournament is one in which the Blues have twice been beaten finalists, way back in 1977 when they lost after two replays to Aston Villa and then again in 1984.

I remember the ’84 final against Liverpool. That game was a landmark occasion and the first of what turned out to be three all-Merseyside cup finals in the eighties, none of which unfortunately Everton would win.

It was also the match that represented a kind of coming-of-age game for the Toffees young team emerging at that time. Just a few months before, it had looked as though Everton were going nowhere fast as usual and that manager Howard Kendall was on his way out.

But the team turned things around, with a League Cup win over Oxford United in January that year, perhaps representing the game that marked the turning point.

The Blues produced a fine performance in the rain at Wembley that March afternoon in 1984 and perhaps could and should have won it, having a good shout for a penalty turned down.

Although Everton lost the replay, it showed the team could compete with their neighbours at last and of course it kicked off what became the most successful era in the club’s history.

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Can the League Cup provide a launchpad for a similar period of success in the next few years? I wonder. At the very least it does surely represent a very good chance for the Toffees to finally end a trophy drought that has lasted more than 25 years. That would be something at least.

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