Yakubu Ayegbeni has been given a chance to atone for his Africa Cup of Nations disappearing act after he was recalled to the Everton squad to face Brann in the first knockout round of the UEFA Cup.
The Nigerian international returned to the club two days late from the Africa Cup of Nations, but after being dropped for Saturday’s game against Reading and fined two weeks wages, he has been brought back into the fold for tonight’s game.
“Yak’s back in and it’s done with now, that episode has ended,” said Everton manager David Moyes.
“I just hope he feels he has a point to prove because he let us down by not coming back on time. We’ve moved on now, but he will be important because he is one of those with European experience and that’s vital. This will be a tough game in any circumstances, but with injuries it is going to be a struggle getting a team out.”
Everton face a Norwegian side that last played a league game on November 4 last year and in the three months since winning the title have competed in just three Uefa Cup group ties.
“They will probably know a lot more about us than we know about them,” admitted Moyes.
“Whether it is an advantage to play a team out of its season, only time will tell. They have been training in La Manga for the past two weeks and my chief scout has got a good suntan as a result, but it is not an ideal way to get to know your opponents.
“One thing for certain is that we cannot underestimate Brann. We have done well in the Uefa Cup this season but in other cup competitions we have done badly, so we can never take a team for granted in the cup.”