Adams happy with progress of his half-time high-fliers

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The Independent Football

Two of England's brightest young managerial talents cross swords at Goodison today knowing that three points could be vital to the cause of preserving Premiership status.

Micky Adams' first Premiership match in charge at Leicester was a 2-2 Filbert Street draw with David Moyes' Everton in April 2002 and both managers and clubs are set to renew their rivalry on the blue half of Merseyside this weekend.

Following that springtime stalemate, Adams proved unable to prevent relegation but after a promotion-winning campaign they have bounced back and currently hold firm outside the Premiership drop zone. After challenging for a European place last term, Everton, meanwhile, are scarcely better off than fourth-bottom City, two places above but only one point in front.

"After last season when they just missed out on a Champions' League spot or a Uefa spot, I'm sure there's been a lot of things expected of Everton but it's not worked out that way whereas someone's worked out if all our matches had finished at half-time this season we'd be fourth in the league," he said. "That's a great stat, but it means nothing although I do think we're higher than we're expected to be.

"We're not supposed to win games of football, you see, and we're not supposed to be anywhere other than bottom place, so we're doing better than anyone ever anticipated. It's nice to stay out of the bottom three but at this stage it's not vital and so I'm not putting any pressure on the next couple of games either."

While the Leicester manager highlighted the similarities between his career and Moyes', he pointed out a big difference.

"I think Wayne Rooney of course is a special talent," he said, "and if I look around my youth set-up here at the moment we haven't got a player to go anywhere near him. That tells you how special he is, particularly when you remember the fact he's holding down an England place as well.

"David Moyes is doing what he sees fit in terms of Rooney's progression - resting him and playing him when he thinks that's right - and that's the way to handle youngsters. If I was there I don't see myself as doing the job any differently to the way Moyesie's doing it, I think he's handling him great.

"I think David and I have been brought up in a similar fashion, although I think I was a better player than David - I don't think he made the top grade. But we've both studied the game, taken the coaching badges in the correct manner, thought about our futures from a very early part of our careers and worked our way up through the lower leagues. David is a grafter, is well respected in the game and there's no reason why he shouldn't be."

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