TIM Howard hopes Everton’s experience in Merseyside derbies will be crucial in their clash with Liverpool on Saturday.
The USA goalkeeper is preparing to play in his 13th game against the Reds, and is just one of a host of derby veterans in David Moyes’ squad.
In contrast several new faces in Liverpool’s squad will experience the white-hot atmosphere that is Goodison Park on derby day for the first time.
Despite growing up on the other side of the world, Howard has learned to appreciate what the derby means to Evertonians in his six years on Merseyside.
He said: “If you play passionately for a long period of time you start to become part of the fabric of the club just like the fans are and the way the homegrown players are.
“It’s not easy to do that and maybe we’re not even there yet but you start to feel it little by little.
“Everyone wants to know when the Liverpool game is, how quickly it comes in the season and whether it is at Anfield or at home.
“We’re up for it and it’ll be a good one.”
Meanwhile defender Sylvain Distin believes a Carling Cup fourth round tie against Chelsea at Goodison Park could work in their favour.
Everton knocked Chelsea out of the FA Cup at the fourth round stage last term and Distin believes playing against the top teams brings the best out of them.
He said: “It’s a tough draw but we did well last season so why not? Sometimes you are a bit more focused playing against the bigger teams because you know you are going to have to play well.
“We’ve had some really good games against Chelsea in recent seasons, but this is a new season so we can’t really compare.”