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Keane Braced For Tough Return

Pre-match build-up as Michael Keane heads back to Turf Moor

2 March 2018

Michael Keane is looking forward to his Turf Moor return – but knows he will be in for a tough test.

Keane will be back at Burnley on Saturday lunch-time for the first time since his big-money move to Everton last summer.

And the defender – a key player in the Clarets’ Championship title-winning success of 2016 and their retention of top-flight status last season – has had the game earmarked since he joined the Toffees.

“I am excited. When the fixture list first came out it was the first one I looked for. I was at Burnley for three years and had a great time there,” Keane told evertonTV.

Michael Keane made 108 appearances for the Clarets

“I hope I get a good reception. You never know what to expect but I feel like I have a good relationship with all the fans, and it would be nice.”

Keane was a popular figure in the Turf Moor dressing room but is bracing himself for an onslaught from his former team-mates.

The England international, 25, added: “It will be a physical game and I know what to expect.

“They are not easy to play against, they will throw themselves everywhere – all over you. They will challenge in the air, but they have got quality as well.

“I don’t think they get the credit they deserve for being good footballers. They are good players and we have to be wary of them.”

The Clarets showed their class in a 1-0 win at Goodison Park at the start of October and are aiming for a first double over the Merseysiders since 1960 to maintain their grip on seventh place in the Premier League.

Jeff Hendrick's winner at Everton ended a 27-pass move

Everton have won away from home just once this season and boss Sam Allardyce knows his side must improve on the road as they look to close a three-point gap on the Clarets, who are seeking a first win in 12 league games.

The former England manager said: “I would have to say to everybody, ‘what we have seen at home, we have not seen away,’ – and the responsibility of the players is to have a positive frame of mind and get in the right focus and frame of mind, wherever they turn out, to enable them to perform at the highest level they can.

“We have not seen enough of that away from home, so it will be interesting to see what the players achieve at Burnley, which is going to be a very difficult game on the basis they are a very well-organised side that does not concede a lot of goals.

“They don’t score many, but they don’t concede a lot.”

Injury news

Burnley will have James Tarkowski back in the squad after missing the last four games with a groin injury.

Scott Arfield, who scored the late winner against Everton at Turf Moor in October, 2016, is still out with a calf problem.

Everton have full-backs Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines available again after injury. 

Match facts

The Clarets have lost only one of their last seven top-flight home games against Everton.

None of the previous seven Premier League meetings between these sides has finished level, with Everton winning four and Burnley three.

Everton have picked up just one win from their last 22 Premier League away games (D9, L12), losing the last four in a row.

Referee

Chris Kavanagh


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