Moyes prays for Yobo return
By Andrew Scurr. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Everton manager David Moyes is praying defender Joseph Yobo is fit for the game against Newcastle, so he can deal with the threat posed by Obafemi Martins.
Martins joined The Magpies during the summer for £10 million and is a player David Moyes has always been keen on.
The Toffees boss will see first-hand Martins' quality on Sunday and feels he has the ideal defender to deal with the Nigerian international in Yobo.
However, the stopper has been struggling with a back complaint and remains doubtful for the game at St James' Park.
Yobo has worked against Martins when on international duty with Nigeria and Moyes is hoping the 26-year-old will be back in time to start on Sunday.
"He's very quick, I think Joseph Yobo will know him better than anyone from playing in the Nigerian team," said Moyes.
"He's sharp, we saw him score goals for Inter Milan over the last few seasons and he's someone I've always admired because he was quick and bright.
"Hopefully Joseph, if fit, will know enough about him."
Meanwhile, Everton assistant manager Alan Irvine has been impressed with midfielder Andy van der Meyde's work rate.
The 26-year-old has struggled for regular first team action since moving to Goodison Park last summer.
Injuries have dogged his time in England but Irvine is backing the Dutchman to get back to his best to help club and country.
"He has had fitness problems over the last 12 months and wasn't 100% during pre-season but he is getting fitter," Irvine told the club's official website.
"He is a great talent who has been working hard after what has been a frustrating 12 months thanks to problems on and off the pitch.
"What he really needs now is an injury-free run. His ambition is to get back into the Holland squad and in order to do that he needs to be delivering at Everton. He has all the talent to do so and remains an important member of our first-team squad.
"He adds to our midfield options on the left of midfield, which includes Mikel Arteta, Leon Osman and Gary Naysmith. We will utilise different formations and different players throughout the season."