Neville could return for Everton

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The Independent Online

Phil Neville could return as Everton look to kickstart their season with a Carling Cup victory at Brentford tonight.

Everton have failed to win in their opening five Barclays Premier League games and are in need of a lift ahead of this weekend's trip to Fulham.

Former England international Neville has not played since the first day defeat at Blackburn due to a foot injury and the team have missed the 33-year-old's experience.

Toffees assistant manager Steve Round said: "I can't speak highly enough of Phil.

"He is the guy that knits everything together - every team needs one.

"He leads not only on the field but off it and having him around the place is fantastic for us.

"He is not only an exceptional player but his leadership and experience is first rate.

"He is a terrific leader and has been a big miss but Phil is now fully fit and available.

"I am sure it won't be too long before we see him back in the team and leading from the front."

Manager David Moyes is likely to make changes with Craven Cottage in mind but feels several of his first-teamers could do with a confidence-boosting run-out against the League One side.

The Merseysiders will travel to Griffin Park with a strong squad which could include midfield talisman Tim Cahill if he passes a fitness test on a knee problem.

Summer signing Jermaine Beckford, still to score in the Premier League, is in need of goals while fellow striker Yakubu is returning to full fitness and should feature.

Everton ended last season with a run of just two defeats in 24 league matches and are hoping victory tonight can spark another strong sequence.

Round said: "Over the course of this next day or two it is about picking them up and getting them back at it.

"We have got another important game on Saturday. It is a matter of us, the players and the staff, turning around and saying that wasn't acceptable and now is the time to put it right.

"If you look at the table we are only two games off the top six.

"The way the league is at the moment everyone is beating each other and there are a lot of draws.

"We are quite capable of going on a run like we have this calendar year.

"It is just getting to grips with it, getting that first win and then putting a string of results together.

"We are struggling along but I am sure with the way the manager works and how he is going to drive the players over the next few weeks, we will turn it around."

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