Everton V Sunderland at Goodison Park - Match Preview
Updated Friday, 16th March 2012
Everton V Sunderland at Goodison Park - Match Preview.
Everton playmaker Steven Pienaar is cup-tied for the FA Cup quarter-final against Sunderland at Goodison Park.
Central midfielder Darron Gibson is also unlikely to return to action from a knee injury.
Manager David Moyes is expected to rotate his squad after making six changes for the midweek defeat at Liverpool - which included first starts in two months for defender Phil Jagielka and midfielder Jack Rodwell.
Moyes has no regrets over that controversial team selection for the Merseyside derby.
Victory over the Black Cats, and the resulting semi-final trip to Wembley, might vindicate Moyes' decision, but that has not stopped him attracting some criticism from fans who find losing to the neighbours difficult to stomach.
Moyes, who celebrated the 10th anniversary of his appointment this week, said: "It has been an important week. It was always going to be tough and that has proved to be the case.
"We have got a lot of players here and a good squad when they are fit.
"We chose to use them and give a few of them a game. We want them all to be fit and ready for the run-in, and obviously for the game on Saturday."
When asked if he had any regrets, Moyes said: "None whatsoever."
The Liverpool loss halted Everton's momentum after a nine-game unbeaten run.
But Moyes said: "We have now moved on and are looking forward to the Sunderland game. It is a big game for us.
"We didn't win in midweek but our performances prior to that were good and results were good.
"We will keep doing what we are doing."
Striker Nicklas Bendtner is expected to be fit for Sunderland.
The Denmark international left the field on a stretcher with a knee problem during the closing stages of last weekend's 1-0 win over Liverpool, but has made a rapid recovery.
However, full-back Kieran Richardson is losing his battle to recover from a calf problem in time so Wayne Bridge could continue, while suspended pair Lee Cattermole and Stephane Sessegnon and injured duo Wes Brown (knee) and Titus Bramble (Achilles/calf) remain on the sidelines.
Sunderland famously lifted the trophy in 1973, and while manager Martin O'Neill, who supported the club as a boy, is well aware of the place that achievement holds in the club's history, he is intent on adding to it.
He said: "The FA Cup itself has perhaps over the last 10, 12, 14 years lost a little bit of its sheen, and I am hoping it will recover and eventually in another 60, 70 years' time, who knows, it might come back to being the most important cup competition?
"It has a fantastic history and it is one you would really want to be part of.
"This football club has lived really on the 1973 epic cup final against Leeds United - Jim Montgomery's double save, Ian Porterfield scoring the goal - that's absolutely fantastic.
"But you would like to think that at some stage or another at this particular club over the next 100 years, we would be able to share a few more moments."