Kendall drops Barmby `in the hole'

That was the week that was
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The Independent Online
For long-suffering Everton fans fearing another season at the wrong end of the Premiership, Saturday's victory over Barnsley came as welcome relief after consecutive defeats.

It did nothing, however, to assuage fears that manager Howard Kendall has somewhat lost the plot since returning to Goodison for his third stint in charge. These stem from Kendall's unusual assessments of some of the players he inherited from former chief Joe Royle, namely Nick Barmby and Claus Thomsen, more than pounds 6.5m worth of talent no longer at the forefront of his plans.

Barmby wants to play as a striker but Kendall says he is better suited to operating "in the hole" behind two other forwards. Unfortunately for Barmby, the current Everton system does not require such a player. Hence no place, regardless of the pounds 5.75m Royle paid for him.

Thomsen sees himself as a midfield player, as do Denmark and as did Royle when he bought him as such from Ipswich. Kendall, however, sees him as a defender and has told him that there are six other defenders he rates more highly.

Scouse wits may say that at least Kendall has recognised that Earl Barrett is not a full back. Others are worried, however, that he'll sign Fabrizio Ravanelli and play him in goal.

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Derbyshire cricketers Kim Barnett and Tim Tweats, both born in Stoke, will be on opposite sides when Stoke City and Port Vale meet in the first Potteries derby to be staged at City's new Britannia Stadium next month. Barnett is a life-long Stoke supporter while Tweats was born and raised a Valiant. Just to show they can put their differences to one side, however, the two shared in a Derbyshire record partnership of 417 against Yorkshire on Saturday, Barnett finishing unbeaten on 210, Tweats scoring 189.

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