Europa League: Moyes ready to blood youngsters in Borisov

After recovering from what is becoming their annual slow start to the season, Everton travel to Belarus tonight to face BATE Borisov looking for a fifth consecutive win and a sixth victory in seven matches in all competitions.

Last weekend's 1-0 win at Portsmouth was the Toffees' fourth clean sheet in four games and manager David Moyes is relishing the chance to test his under-strength side against the Belarus champions in the Europa League Group I encounter.

"While it is disappointing we don't have the pick of all our players, that doesn't make our involvement any less enjoyable," Moyes said. "It [European qualification] is something that we as a club always wanted. Finishing fifth last season was a great achievement, so I am really looking forward to this match."

Nine regular squad members failed to make the 1,200 mile trip, midfielder Steven Pienaar [knee] and Jack Rodwell [flu] the latest additions to an injury list including long-term absentees Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta and Phil Neville.

Top scorer Louis Saha is suspended following his dismissal in the opening group match against AEK Athens, while Johnny Heitinga and Lucas Neill are ineligible.

Youngsters Dan Gosling, Jose Baxter and James Wallace are included in the squad as the Toffees attempt to win away in Europe for the first time in four matches.

The hosts have won their national league for the last three seasons and sit 10 points clear at the top with five games left following Saturday's 3-1 victory at Granit. Tonight's visit of Everton is the first of any English club to the Belarusians.

Fulham v Basle

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has denied suggestions the Europa League is acting as a distraction for his players ahead of tonight's visit of Basle. Hodgson played a weakened side for the 1-1 draw at CSKA Sofia last month before losing 2-1 at Wolves three days later and the Craven Cottage side have failed to win any of the three weekend matches following midweek European games. West Ham welcome Fulham to Upton Park this weekend.

"We certainly don't see Europe as a distraction, we regard it as an interesting adventure," Hodgson said. "If you don't want distractions then you should refuse the offer to qualify for Europe. There was never any question of us doing that. We tried to finish as high as we could in the Premier League last season."

Fulham have appealed to Uefa to allow them to register goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbuhler for tonight's match against his former side after David Stockdale suffered a knee injury in training. First-choice Mark Schwarzer remains the club's only other fit goalkeeper.

"We've found it difficult to register Zuberbuhler because of the restrictions," Hodgson continued. "You have to have so many home-grown players and we don't have any. Twenty-five players for most teams becomes 20 for us because of that. I am hoping he'll be on the list for tomorrow otherwise we'll be in serious trouble. I'm confident that our wish to exchange Stockdale's name for Zuberbuhler will be OK. Normally you're allowed to make the change with 24 hours notice."

Midfielders Damien Duff, Simon Davies and Dickson Etuhu, along with defender Brede Hangeland, all miss tonight's match against Thorsten Fink's side through injury.

Celtic v Rapid Vienna

The Celtic manager Tony Mowbray welcomes midfielder Aiden McGeady back for the Group C visit of Rapid Vienna after the Republic of Ireland international was rested for Saturday's win at St Mirren with an ankle injury.

Midfielder Paddy McCourt and defender Andreas Hinkel face late fitness tests as the Bhoys look to recover from last month's defeat to Hapoel Tel Aviv and gain their first points in Group C, although Mowbray is not underestimating the Austrian side. "It will be a massive challenge," the Scot said. "Anyone who can beat Hamburg is going to be a good side, they wouldn't be in the competition otherwise.

"We will show them the respect that they deserve, they are strong in the counter attack and have good players in good areas of the pitch. They are going to be a threat and it's something we have to be aware of."

"It's a chance to get three points and we will try to the best of our abilities," added Stephen McManus.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The teaser trailer has provoked more questions than answers
filmBut what is Bond's 'secret' that Moneypenny is talking about?
News
Johnny Depp is perhaps best known for his role as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean
peopleBut how did he break it?
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel in Fast and Furious 5
film
Sport
Lewis Hamilton secured his second straight pole of the season
f1Vettel beats Rosberg into third after thunderstorm delays qualifying
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss