JACK RODWELL believes Everton can flourish even without any last-minute January transfer market signings.
The 19-year-old midfielder admits he was unhappy at Steven Pienaar’s recent departure to Tottenham Hotspur, but insists the Blues have enough quality within the current squad to replace him.
David Moyes will not give up in his hunt to recruit a new striker, especially after he sanctioned James Vaughan’s departure on loan to Crystal Palace this week, but available players remain a scarcity.
And Rodwell is unconcerned about the club’s inactivity so far, instead hoping to force his way into Moyes’ first team plans ahead of this Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round tie with Chelsea, when he says Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has the quality to fill the creative gap created by Pienaar’s exit.
The Russian has admitted to feeling “hurt” by his failure to break into the first team this season, but Rodwell hopes the Russian’s fortunes will change.
“Obviously it was disappointing to lose Steven but we’ve got good players like Bilyaletdinov who can step in and play really well,” said Rodwell.
“We’ve got a great squad generally as it is. The morale in the team is actually really good.
“There is competition for places and there are good players on the bench alongside me. So whatever happens in the transfer market is a bonus really. It’s not the end of the world if nobody comes.”
Meanwhile, excited skipper Phil Neville believes the Chelsea game will have neutrals transfixed.
Further speculation linking Everton’s captain with a move to Spurs has emerged this week, despite both clubs ruling any deal out.
But Neville is simply focusing on overcoming Carlo Ancelotti’s team at Saturday lunch time.
He said: “Personally I can’t wait for this tie,” the skipper said. “It is really exciting – a real glamour tie, the tie of the round.
“It takes you back a couple of years and reminds you of when we got Liverpool. At the time that seemed a daunting prospect but we got through with the help of the fans.
“At times we were dead on our feet in that game but we knew we could get a result and the fans dragged us over the line.
“This time we are against the reigning league champions and cup holders in our own backyard – it is really exciting.”