Moyes needs a fit Cahill to shore up midfield

Click to follow
The Independent Football

The Everton manager, David Moyes, will keep an eye on Tim Cahill's fitness ahead of Saturday's Premier League match against Manchester United. The influential midfielder was forced to come off with a calf problem in the 2-1 victory against Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday night in the Europa League round of 32 first-leg match.

Moyes will be looking for good news especially as they are light in that department. Marouane Fellaini, such a key figure this season, is out for the rest of the campaign as he needs ankle surgery. The Scot is still bristling at the challenge on Fellaini from Liverpool's Sotirios Kyrgiakos, who was sent off in the derby, that ended the Belgian's season prematurely.

"It was a terrible tackle," said Moyes. "We have lost a few players to tackles. It is a blow to us as Marouane will be out for a while."

While Moyes was angered at the way they let Sporting back into Tuesday night's match he is convinced they can complete the job in Portugal a week today. Steven Pienaar and Sylvain Distin gave Everton a two-goal cushion but Miguel Veloso found the target from the penalty spot with three minutes remaining. Distin was sent off in the incident after hauling back Liedson as he tried to break clear and that away goal could prove vital.

But Moyes remains bullish: "I think we have seen enough to know we can beat Sporting. But obviously I am disappointed as we had a chance to get quite well forward in the tie."

Distin will miss the return match as he is suspended and with John Heitinga ineligible, Philippe Senderos looks certain to be drafted in provided he shrugs off a back injury.

Pienaar enjoyed his goal but like Moyes was left frustrated at giving Sporting a glimmer of hope.

He said: "After all the hard work we did, to concede a goal is tough. Our aim was not to concede. It's unfortunate we have to go to Lisbon knowing they have a goal and it is going to be game on now. It was a nice counter-attacking goal. Tim [Cahill] heard my shout and I was a bit lucky as I touched it right."