It's hard to replace Lukaku, Everton Boss Koeman says

  • It's hard to replace Lukaku, Everton Boss Koeman says

It's hard to replace Lukaku, Everton Boss Koeman says

Everton's position has been weakened by long-term injuries to key players in defenders Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori, plus midfielder Yannick Bolasie although Koeman is more concerned about adding to a list of specialist forwards which only consists of 22-year-old Spanish signing Sandro.

Everton face a hard start to the season, with the visit of Stoke followed by games against Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and United.

Everton manager Koeman believes Barkley will leave Goodison Park this summer but insists the club will not be hostage to a deliberately late, undervalued offer for the midfielder.

It was October 15 before Stoke collected their first league win last season, September 26 the season before that and September 29 the campaign before that.

Everton are a continual top-half Premier League club, but can not seem to break into the top four.

"I know the expectations are higher than last season but I always look to be realistic".

Rooney and fellow new signing Sandro Ramirez (formerly of Malaga) will lead the attack for the Toffees.

Odds of 7-10 look good for a home win.

Stoke could complete the signing of Bruno Martins Indi before the game but it will not be done in time for him to feature.

Negotiations with Porto have proved frustrating but Press Association Sport understands a deal just in excess of B£7million has now been agreed and the player has settled his own outstanding contractual issues with the Portuguese club, which had been a contributory factor in delaying the deal. Everton have enjoyed a positive head-to-head record against the Potters too.

"My understanding is it's very close", said Hughes.

"Okay, I believe if we get the picture of the last players we are stronger than last season but being stronger than last season does not mean you will win against the big six because they also will be more strong than last season". "We are looking forward to getting started".

Having said that I'm backing them to kick the season off with a win against a Stoke side I fear will struggle having lost Marko Arnautovic to West Ham.