Victor Anichebe targets injury-free campaign for Everton


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The Independent Football

Victor Anichebe is hoping he can finally show Everton fans what he is capable of this season.

The striker made his debut for the Toffees as a 17-year-old and scored his first Premier League goal in May 2006, but in six further seasons at Goodison Park he has averaged just over 20 games as injuries have taken their toll.

The last three campaigns have been particularly frustrating, Anichebe making only 46 appearances, the majority of them from the bench.

A groin injury was his main problem last season, ruling him out until January, but when he did return he scored five goals in 14 appearances, and he is optimistic he can pick up where he left off.

The 24-year-old told Press Association Sport: "My aim is to stay fit. Last season I came back and I scored five goals in not so many appearances so towards the end of last season I did pretty well.

"Hopefully this year I can stay injury free and I never know where that will take me. I'm sure I've put all that stuff behind me now. I've been unfortunate in the past but that's nothing I can dwell on."

Everton have been handed a very tough opening to the season, with Manchester United the visitors to Goodison Park this evening.

The Toffees have taken points off Sir Alex Ferguson's side in each of the past four years, though, including in last season's remarkable 4-4 draw at Old Trafford.

Anichebe said: "It's always a tough game against them but we're at our home ground, our fans really get behind us so it's going to be a great opening fixture for the club and the players. Hopefully we can get a great result."

The Toffees yesterday confirmed the capture of Belgium forward Kevin Mirallas on a four-year contract after agreeing an undisclosed fee with Olympiacos, although tonight's game will come too soon for the new boy.

Everton will instead again hope Nikica Jelavic can continue his fine goalscoring form after proving one of the best buys of the January window with 11 goals in 16 games.

And Anichebe is hoping for more of the same from the Croatian this season, even if that means opportunities are harder to come by for him.

The 24-year-old added: "Nicky was a top signing for us. No-one really expected him to blow up like he did. It's good for me as well to see how he plays. The fact he scored really crucial goals was a big boost for us and really good for the fans.

"It's great competition when you see new players coming in. It can only push you on and make you improve so it's great for everyone."