Everton-Huddersfield Town Preview
With only a handful of games left on their 2017-18 Premier League docket, Huddersfield Town continue their battle against relegation and will have a chance to pull closer to safety on Saturday when they welcome Everton to John Smith's Stadium.
The Terries (9-8-17) find themselves in 16th place on 35 points, six clear of the bottom three but still five points from the magical 40-point plateau. If they can manage to string some wins together over their final four games, avoiding the drop is a very achievable goal.
David Wagner's charges are aiming for their second consecutive Premier League win after squeaking out a massive 1-0 result against Watford at home on April 14. The home side were outplayed for large portions of the match, but scored with their only shot on target when Tom Ince buried the winner in second-half stoppage time.
With only four matches left, there is a palpable belief around the training ground that the Terriers can achieve their goal and secure a second consecutive Premier League season.
"At the start of the season no one gave Huddersfield a chance, even me looking from an outside perspective; it's just the truth," said midfielder Alex Pritchard. "I've come in here and you can sense the belief around the training ground and with the fans and we've got a real good chance. With the fans on our side, giving 100 percent even when we make mistakes, is crucial."
Everton (12-9-14) has a minuscule shot of earning a Europa League spot next season but is far more likely to claim a top-half finish as they come into Saturday's clash in eighth place on 45 points.
Sam Allardyce's Toffees are unbeaten in their last three Premier League matches as they aim to close the season strong. Last time out, the Blues claimed a 1-0 win over Newcastle United at Goodison Park thanks to a 51st-minute strike from Theo Walcott.
The Everton defence has posted clean sheets in two of their last three matches and Michael Keane believes the back line will get stronger as the season draws to a close.
"It is a lot more settled at the back and there are experienced players in that back four now which always helps," said the 25-year-old. "There's a lot more talking as well. It certainly helps playing together week in and week out and on the training pitch as well.
"I feel comfortable playing with anyone, but it is great playing with Jags (captain Phil Jagielka). I could play with Ashley Williams and Ramiro Funes Mori, of course, but it is just playing with them regularly and knowing each other's game a bit more and getting that understanding with each other on the training pitch. But I feel comfortable with Jags at the minute and he always talks so that is helping me. We have got three games left and we are aiming to win them all to build up the confidence."
After scoring the winner last week, Walcott is aiming to net in consecutive Premier League matches for the first time since April 2017.
Everton claimed a 2-0 win in the reverse fixture back in December at Goodison Park thanks to goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Updated April 26, 2018