Belfast Telegraph

Everton caretaker boss David Unsworth hopes Goodison return will boost fortunes

David Unsworth is hoping a return to Goodison Park can inspire a change in Everton fortunes in what could be his final game in charge.

The Toffees host high-flying Watford on Sunday in their fourth game since Ronald Koeman's sacking.

Unsworth has overseen three defeats as caretaker boss, leaving Everton in the Premier League relegation zone and out of the Europa League.

The board are due to meet during the international break next week to discuss the situation and the club could potentially have a new manager prior to their next game against Crystal Palace on November 18.

Unsworth, an Everton fan who spent most of his playing career with the Toffees, has made no secret of his desire to step up from the under-23s and manage the club permanently.

He said: "I spoke to the chairman last night. I talk to him every day, which is great. He's been a great support and so have all the board members.

"Everybody's been fantastic, communication has been great, and hopefully we'll all sit down and sort what's best for the club in the international window. The sooner it's resolved, the better for everybody.

"I know the chairman and the board will make a decision that's best for the football club. And I'll accept that. If it's me, great, if it's somebody else who can help the team do better, fantastic."

Unsworth was speaking to the media less than 12 hours after flying home following Everton's latest defeat, a 3-0 loss to Lyon that confirmed their European exit.

Now Unsworth must try to lift the spirits of his players, who have lost their last five games, as he prepares to pit his wits against a man who has been linked with the Everton job.

Marco Silva has had an excellent start to life as Watford manager and brings his Hornets side to Merseyside sitting eighth in the table.

Unsworth said he was unaware of the speculation surrounding Silva but believes playing at Goodison Park can be the spark his side need.

All three of the 44-year-old's games in charge have been away, and he said: " Three tough away games but you play the cards that you're dealt and certainly you won't find me complaining about difficult fixtures.

"It will be great to get back to Goodison Park and I can't wait to stand there in front of 40,000 Evertonians, who I know will get behind everybody on Sunday afternoon.

"Sunday's a massive game for the club. It's a great game, a great opportunity to get back to winning ways, and Sunday's about Everton Football Club.

"We need a win for the fans, we need a win for the players desperately to give them some confidence and we all need to come together."

Unsworth is hopeful centre-back Michael Keane will have recovered from his foot problem but Everton will be without full-back Cuco Martina.

There was concern when the Curacao international was carried off the pitch in a neck brace after landing awkwardly late in the first half against Lyon.

Unsworth said: "He's fine. He had his X-rays and his scans and they all came back clear. He was a little bit dizzy, concussed, and very tired on the plane on the way home.

"He'll probably be out for a couple of weeks now as a precaution but he was in great hands last night, all the doctors and medics looked after him really well and we thank them for that."

Wayne Rooney, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka all return after being rested for the trip to France as does Oumar Niasse, who is ineligible in Europe.

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