DAVID MOYES admits he faces a dilemma over whether to drop out-of-form striker Nikica Jelavic.
The Blues boss is considering leaving out the 27-year-old for today’s FA Cup fourth round tie at Bolton, after he has failed to score in Everton’s last seven Premier League games.
Jelavic’s last goal for the Toffees came in the 5-1 victory at Cheltenham in the previous round, but he has otherwise struggled to recapture his prolific form from last season, and Moyes admits it has given him a selection headache.
He said: “I’ve got some more options now that I could use and he could benefit from time out, but I also think that maybe a couple of goals might change his world.
“It’s the balance of that and I’ll look at it and make a decision before the game to see what I’ll do. We’ve got three games as well this week, which is something I have to consider.
“ It’s something I’ll have to look at but he’s not quite fired, and the chance he got at Southampton he would have stuck away when he first came in and it was looking a lot easier.
“Those couple of chances at the moment are just affecting us getting the wins.”
With fit-again forward Kevin Mirallas expected to be involved at the Reebok Stadium today, and Victor Anichebe in good recent form, Moyes is at least content that he has some strength in depth in his forward ranks – even if he would like to add another goalscorer to his squad this month.
“What we’ve got available makes a difference,” he said. “We’ve just in the last week or two started to get a bit more back which helps me and means I can try something else.
“Probably in the last month or so, we haven’t had many options to alternate it really but Nikica’s our main striker and I want to give him every opportunity to be the main striker. You’re caught between whatever you do could be wrong but I’ll look to do the right thing.”
Moyes’ decision on Jelavic will be influenced by the degree to which he believes Mirallas, who made his comeback against Southampton, is ready to start against the Trotters.
He added: “I’m a bit worried that because he’s only played 20 minutes, whether he could play 90 minutes. I’m not sure he could do that.
“Could he get 60 minutes? I would hope so, so I’ve got a decision over whether I start him or bring him off the bench but hopefully he’s going to be an important player for us in the final third of the season and that’s what we need him to be.”
Moyes also believes the re-emergence of Belgium international Mirallas could help ease the pressure on Jelavic.
He added: “I think he does a lot of things individually and a lot of attention has been drawn to Jelavic and when Kevin comes in it will take a little bit of the focus away from Jelavic.
“ Kevin created a lot more trouble which leaves more space and there will be more balls in the box where he can get opportunities.
“Hopefully he lives up to that. Ideally we would have them both in the team, but maybe there will be a time where it would be better where one of them isn’t in the team, but Mirallas hasn’t been in the team for three months really.”