Everton’s calamity of a Europa League campaign finally comes to an end on Thursday evening when the Blues make the trip to Cyprus to face Apollon Limassol at the GSP Stadium.
With both sides unable to progress into the next stage of the competition it is an irrelevant game in the Blues’ calendar, but if pride means anything it’s a given no one wants to finish rock bottom of Group E, an away win will elevate the Toffees above their Cypriot opponents into third.
Sam Allardyce won’t be travelling to Cyprus due to a ‘long standing medical appointment’, assistant manager Sammy Lee is staying behind at USM Finch Farm so it is down to Craig Shakespeare and Duncan Ferguson to bring an inexperienced squad to Limassol, it’ll be a fantastic opportunity for young and hungry players to show their worth.
Apollon Limassol have won their last three league games, in stylish fashion too, netting 13 goals and only conceding one in the process which has seen them rise to fifth in the Cypriot First Division.
Everton’s one and only point in the group stage came against the same opponents in the reverse fixture, when the ten men of the visitors snatched a point late on in L4.
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Senior players will be rested on mass in anticipation of Sunday’s Merseyside derby, with Kevin Mirallas, Morgan Schneiderlin, Nikola Vlasic, Davy Klaassen, Muhamed Besic, Ademola Lookman and Joel Robles the only players with experience in the first team traveling.
Momentum is key going into such a big game, the old saying ‘the form book goes out the window in derbies’ is all well and good, but of course going to Anfield on the back of three consecutive wins would be a massive bonus for a side who haven’t won a game across Stanley Park since 1999.