David Moyes acknowledges he is taking a gamble by dropping Joleon Lescott from his squad, but the Everton manager says he does not want to sell the defender.
The England defender has been left out of the Toffees’ squad for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Sigma Olomouc because of his attitude problems.
Lescott is a target of Manchester City, who have already had two bids rejected, and the former Wolves player has seen a transfer request turned down by Everton.
Moyes admits he is taking a risk ahead of play-off first leg, saying: “Yes, this is a gamble. And it will be one of those two, (Phillip) Neville or (Jack) Rodwell, who will play in defence.”
But Moyes insists he still does not want to let Lescott leave Goodison Park.
He said: “I hope this will all be sorted out, after the deadline.
“People can read what they like into this. But I have said all along I don’t want to sell him.
“But it is a bit like Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Manchester United, there is always a price.
“At this moment no club has made us an offer for the player that we want to accept.”