Royle aims to stop the rot in Europe

Guy Hodgson previews a difficult night ahead for the British teams
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The Independent Online
With Duncan Ferguson in prison and Andrei Kanchelskis ineligible, just about the last thing Everton needed at the moment was to be without Daniel Amokachi. In keeping with a run of troubles, however, Joe Royle's dogs of war will be let off the collar in the European Cup Winners' Cup tonight without their, as he is known on Merseyside, Amo.

The Nigerian is required by his country which means, with Andy Hinchliffe suspended, the Everton squad which faces Feyenoord at Goodison tonight is cut to the bone. "We seem to turn one corner," Royle said, "and bang straight into something else."

Everton are also bang into a run of form that has left them out of the Coca-Cola Cup and in a dangerously fragile position in the Premiership. But for their two wins over Reyjkavik in the Cup Winners' Cup first round, their last success would have been on 30 August, when they did what everybody else has been doing, beat Manchester City.

Fortunately for Everton, their opponents are hardly brimming with confidence either, having sacked their coach, Willen Van Hanegem, recently after a run of bad results including a 4-0 defeat by Leeds's Uefa Cup conquerors on Tuesday, PSV Eindhoven.

They do have the free-kick scourge of Graham Taylor's England, Ronald Koeman, however, and also, intriguingly, the Nigerian Michael Obiku who was not called up by his country. Conspiracy theorists have already noted that the nationality of the Nigerian coach, Jo Bonfrere, is Dutch.

"Feyenoord are a typical Dutch side," Royle said. "Very technical. They like to do things in their own time and then break at you round the box with a change of pace. It won't be an easy game but if we're at our best it's one we can win."

Which pretty well sums up Celtic's position as they travel to meet Paris St Germain. Their problems revolve around the full-back Tosh McKinlay and the midfielder Simon Donnelly, who are doubtful with thigh and calf injuries respectively. Should McKinlay not play, Jamie McQuilken will step in.

The Celtic captain Paul McStay and the midfielder Phil O'Donnell have also entered the picture.

"Both players have now come into my thinking," their manager, Tommy Burns, said last night at the team's hotel in Versailles. McStay has been nursing a groin strain, while O'Donnell has been struggling with a calf injury.

Burns knows that McStay's influence could be a vital factor in the intimidating atmosphere of Parc des Princes. Paris SG represent a formidable barrier, even though they will be without two key players. The defender and captain Alain Roche and the Panamanian striker Julio Cesar Dely Valdes are both injured, which leaves the midfielder Vincent Guerin to pose the biggest threat.

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