DAVID MOYES is urging Nikica Jelavic to rediscover his goal touch, even though last season’s top scorer proved he can be just as deadly as a goal provider on Wednesday night.
The Croatian hit man scored 11 goals in just 13 starts after hitting the ground running with a goal on his full debut in March.
But this season he has seen Marouane Fellaini steal his scoring thunder, the Belgian leading the Blues’ goal charts with eight to Jelavic’s six so far.
In midweek Jelavic played a pivotal role in an outstanding away win at Newcastle by setting up the matchwinner for Victor Anichebe.
But Moyes still wants goals from his main striker.
“We’ve said to him ‘come on, we’re playing you, we’re putting you in, we’re keeping you going’ so we need him to come up with the goals,” said Moyes.
“If you’re going to be a top team you need your centre-forward to score you a decent amount of goals.
“But in fairness to Jela the opportunities didn’t fall to him at Newcastle. They fell to Fellaini, Naismith, Steven Pienaar and Victor in the end.
“On Sunday, against Chelsea, they did fall to him and he was a bit unlucky not to score with his efforts which hit the post and the bar.”
There has been some suggestion that Fellaini’s formidable presence in the Blues forward line this season has reduced the number of chances Jelavic has received.
But Moyes was delighted by the way Fellaini slotted back in after suspension on Wednesday.
“I thought he played really well. I thought in the first half his chest control and the way he got people into the game was exceptional and gave us an alternative when we were passing it,” added Moyes.
“We could hit Felli if we needed it. I’d have liked him to have got the goal in the first half, though!”
Fellaini is likely to be involved at Cheltenham in Monday’s FA Cup third round tie, although Leighton Baines could be in line for a rest as Bryan Oviedo may be given a run out, while midfielders Thomas Hitzlsperger and Ross Barkley may also come into contention for a start.
Kevin Mirallas, Seamus Coleman (both hamstring) are still sidelined, as are Tony Hibbert (calf) and Darron Gibson (thigh).
Former Everton youth goalkeeper Connor Roberts is expected to be on the bench for Cheltenham.
WITH Everton’s allocation at Cheltenham Town sold out, the next chance Blues fans have to watch the team live is at Goodison Park next Saturday for the Premier League clash with Swansea City.
Tickets are still available for the 3pm kick-off and prices start from £31 for adults, £15.50 for juniors and £20.25 for over 65s. Call the Goodison Park Box Office on 0871 663 1878, visit evertonfc.com/eticketing, or drop into the Liverpool city centre ticket outlets at Everton Two or the TicketQuarter in Queen’s Square.