Everton and Dyche have to take Micheal Keane chance at Burnley

This afternoon the Toffees travel to Burnley for the 5.30 Premier League kick-off having lost their key central defender to suspension.
Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Premier League
Liverpool FC v Everton FC - Premier League / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Jarrad Branthwaite's enforced absence for a one-match is a big blow to the Everton boss as he and the squad prepare for today's game and the chance of another critical three points on the road.

The young defender has become undroppable since he replaced Michael Keane in the heart of the Blues defence a few weeks into this season.

But now with his suspension Keane will surely have to come back in his place and renew his long-time partnership with James Tarkowski.

Of course if there was an alternative I would want that player ahead of one who has shown time and again he is always liable to make a serious, often unforced and costly, error.

As well as his obvous talent and physical qualities one of the outstanding things about Branthwaite is that he very rarely puts a foot wrong or gets caught out by misreading the game.

At 21 he is already one of the most accomplished central defenders in the Premier League and has become a huge asset for this Toffees team.

However, there is only one other alternative option to Keane and that is Ben Godfrey. But he hasn't played for Dyche in the league so far this season so it's hughly doubtful the Everton manager will recall him today.

Dyche anyway likes Keane and the former England international played with Tarkowski under him at Burnley of course.

Well, we all have to keep our fingers and toes crossed that Keane can have an error-free match this afternoon at his old stomping ground.

As for the rest of the side that is likely to play today there are few difficult decisions to make and the team pretty much selects itself.

Jordan Pickford in goal, Nathan Patterson and Vitalii Mykolenko at full-back (my preferred starting pair).

In midfield I would start Amadou Onana to partner James Garner with Abdoulaye Doucoure continiuing his successful and productive role as the roving number ten linking midfield and attack.

Wide of those three would be Jack Harrison (although I would like to see him come inside as much as possible with Patterson overlapping) and Dwight McNeil opposite.

Up front I'm sure Dominic Calver-Lewin will still get the nod to start, although after finally opening his Premier League account against Newcastle United, Beto has given his manager something to think about.

I don't think this will be an easy game and I expect a tough battle against a determined Burnley side and a hostile crowd that will want their team to put one over on former boss Dyche.

But, hopefully Everton can stay solid and organised keep their shape and ifind a way to snatch the points to continue the excellent away record they have enjoyed recently.