Saturday evening’s televised Premier League clash at Goodison Park pits David Moyes’ Everton against Tony Pulis and his Stoke City side.
When these two teams came head-to-head earlier this season, quite literally in the case of Marouane Fellaini and Ryan Shawcross, a bruising encounter ended in a 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium. For the home side, who still harbour faint hopes of a place in the top four, the propensity of tied games has almost certainly turned what promised to be a fantastic season in the early months into one where their expectations of finishing just outside the European qualification places are likely to be met.
If the Toffees are to make a successful late season spurt for fourth place the game with the Potters is a must win. Having blown a glorious opportunity for a tilt at silverware when they crashed out of the FA Cup, they went some way to restoring pride when running out convincing winners over reigning champions, Manchester City to renew hope of a possible challenge for a Champions League spot.