LEON OSMAN is convinced Everton can still enjoy a red-hot second half of the season despite falling victim to the big freeze on Boxing Day.
The midfielder believes European qualification is far from impossible, and wants to play his part in the required surge up the table after a frustrating time on the sidelines injured.
That bid to kick-start their climb up the Barclays Premier League was put on hold yesterday when the home clash with Birmingham City had to be postponed after frozen water pipes in Goodison Park burst on Christmas Day.
Club ground staff had been racing to make the Goodison surface playable despite the freezing conditions, but the game was eventually called off in the morning due to safety and hygiene reasons.
It meant Osman, 29, and his team-mates will have to wait until tomorrow’s away journey to resurgent West Ham United, who were buoyed by a 3-1 win over Fulham on Boxing Day, before they can get going again.
Osman returned to the side for the impressive 2-1 win over Manchester City last Monday after a long absence with an ankle injury.
The prolonged break due to yesterday’s cancellation may now make it more likely that David Moyes will have Steven Pienaar and Phil Jagielka fit for the trip to East London.
But even though his place in the starting line-up could be in doubt, Osman is focusing on how victory at Eastlands made it three games without defeat, and says the nature of the league means Everton are more than capable of challenging at the top end of the table.
He said: “We have to remember it has been a strange season and while we have not picked up the results we have wanted regularly enough, we are still not that far off the European places points wise.
“It is still all there to play for and hopefully we can put a real run together in the second half of the season.
“We need to start converting chances – that is the first thing. And once we do that, I think we will put a run together and end up nearer the top of the league. I am confident on that.”
Before playing against Manchester City, Osman hadn’t featured since being substituted in the 2-0 win over Liverpool in October.
He had a similar spell on the sidelines last term and admits there’s nothing worse than watching on from the stands.
“Doing the rehab and the hard work to get back fit isn’t the problem,” said Osman.
“What is frustrating is the fact that you are injured and the rest of the players are out there playing in the games that you can’t play in. Watching the matches is what makes it hard.
“That’s especially the case when the results aren’t what everybody wants them to be and you want to get back out there and help the team. It can be so frustrating.”
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