Behind Enemy Lines: Everton

MILLWALL face Everton in the FA Cup fourth round at The Den in Saturday evening’s televised game.

The Lions have a knack for beating Premier League sides in this competition under Neil Harris and are aiming for their fourth top-tier scalp during his tenure – after beating Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester in 2016-17.

The last time these two sides met, Tim Cahill’s goal was the difference in an FA Cup fourth-round replay at Goodison Park as the Toffees won 1-0 in January 2006.

Lucas Ball spoke to Toffees fan Chris Osborn this week.

Twitter: @theozzyboi

Why do you support Everton?

My mother was born and grew up in Anfield from a family of Evertonians. My grandfather’s ashes were sprinkled on the pitch at Goodison so I didn’t have much choice.

What’s been your favourite season following the Toffees?

Roberto Martinez’s first season in 2013-14 was brilliant. We finished fifth and played fantastic football on the way.

And the worst?

Last season for me was the least pleasure I’ve gained from watching Everton. The Ronald Koeman/Big Sam combo wasn’t pleasing on the eye.

What have been the reasons behind Everton’s inconsistency this campaign?

I think Marco Silva has inherited a squad that isn’t good enough to be consistent. Pre-Merseyside derby ( a 1-0 win to Liverpool in December) we were looking really good but since then it’s been a frustrating Jekyll and Hyde cycle.

Would you stick with Marco Silva in charge?

Yes, of course. I think managers need three to four transfer windows to be judged. I remember Poch at Spurs struggling with inconsistency when he first arrived…not that I’m comparing the two managers.

There are rumours that if Millwall win, he may be relieved of his duties – and the Lions have a reputation for a special relationship with the FA Cup. Is a good run in this competition the only way for him to save his job, no matter what factions of supporters think?

Does this special relationship involve a trophy to show for it? ?

I myself haven’t heard such rumours and I’m not prepared to judge him too harshly this season for reasons mentioned above.

What does the aim have to be for the season now?

The FA Cup is all we have to play for now so Saturday we have to win, it’s as simple as that.

Michy Batshuayi has been linked with a move to Goodison Park – would you be happy with that addition?

I’m not sure on that, like most young strikers these days he seems inconsistent and hardly proven.

Where else do Everton need to add to the squad this month?

We are desperate for a striker up top. I also think Seamus Coleman’s time is up at right-back. He hasn’t been the same since the leg break, unfortunately.

The last time the Lions faced Everton, Tim Cahill’s goal was the difference. Even in 2004, £1.5m must have been seen as a steal?

Yes, he is one of my favourite ever players to wear the Everton shirt and he still seems like a massive Evertonian now. He scored so many goals for us bearing in mind he wasn’t attacking midfielder. Not to mention a fair few against Liverpool.

Are you surprised at Millwall’s lowly league position currently?

Yes. I remember last season thinking you looked really good under Neil Harris. I like the fact he’s your manager as he is a Millwall man through and through.

Are you expecting Silva to make many changes?

I expect him to play a strong team, to be honest. He has expressed his desire to go far in this competition. The last time we won the FA Cup was ‘95 which is too long ago.

Which players will Millwall have to keep an eye on?

I think the two Brazilians, Richarlison and Bernard, could cause you problems and could ultimately be the difference. Ademola Lookman could go also be hard to deal with as he is coming into form.

Which Lions players are you worried about?

Jed Wallace on his day.

What are your thoughts on Neil Harris?

I like him, he is a Lions legend and is Millwall's all-time top scorer.

If you could sign one of his players, who would it be and why?

Well we need a striker but I’m not sure you have any prolific finishers either.

What’s your predicted Everton starting XI and formation?


Pickford; Kenny, Mina, Keane, Digne; Gomes, Gana; Richarlison, Sigurdsson, Bernard; Calvert-Lewin

Are you making the trip down to The Den?

I’m playing in a match myself so I can’t travel down I’m afraid.

This game has been dubbed the ‘Tim Cahill Derby’ – what’s your score prediction?

Millwall 0-2 Everton. Sorry guys.

Graphic: @jay_taylor18