By Harvey Byrne
BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson has predicted a share of the spoils in Everton’s Saturday afternoon clash against Middlesbrough as he hailed the trasnformative effects of rookies Tom Davies and Mason Holgate.
The Toffees are preparing to face Aitor Karanka’s side at the Riverside Stadium at the weekend for a match which will see seventh take on 15th.
Ronald Koeman’s team ran out an emphatic 3-1 victory over Boro in their meeting in September at Goodison Park.
However, Lawrenson believes that the north east club are hard to beat and will prove so against the Merseyside club, predicting a 1-1 draw.
“Tom Davies and Mason Holgate have given Everton such a boost since they broke into the team,” told Lawrenson to BBC website.
“Because they are young, they have added energy and pace to the team and they have also lit the fans up for the same reason.
“The overall effect is that Everton seem to be playing at a quicker tempo now and that helps Romelu Lukaku, because the earlier they get the ball up to him, the more damage he can do.
“Things are far less rosy for Middlesbrough right now, and their lack of wins – they have the fewest in the top flight this season – is catching up with them.
“It was fine to pick up a point here and there earlier in the season when they had a bit of a cushion above the relegation zone but it is different now that everyone below them is going for it a bit more.
“Boro still seem frightened of losing games, so they rarely get opened up, but it means that they rarely win games either.
“Looking at the situation they are in now, that needs to change because draws are not going to be enough to keep them up.”
Everton are enjoying a fine run of form which has seen them pick up four victories from six matches.
The results have seen them nestle in seventh place in the league table as they sit four points ahead of West Brom in eighth while trailing sixth placed Manchester United by five points.
Koeman’s target for this season will be to see the club return to the Europa League after a couple of mediocre seasons under former boss Roberto Martinez.
It is certainly looking achievable at the moment and they will be eager to pick up all three points against a Middlesbrough team who have not won in the league in seven encounters.
In other Everton news, the Toffees have made an approach for this Manchester City first teamer.