MAROUANE FELLAINI believes Everton’s returning injured contingent will be desperate to make their mark on the Blues’ season.
The Belgian is no stranger to frustrating spells on the sidelines himself, after missing large chunks of the last two campaigns with successive ankle injuries.
And Fellaini, 24, says watching the team’s recent revival from behind the scenes will have made Jack Rodwell, Phil Jagielka and Leon Osman even hungrier to make an impact when they return.
That trio, along with Nikica Jelavic, Victor Anichebe and Tim Cahill, are all expected back in action in the coming weeks as the Blues prepare for league meetings with QPR and Tottenham and an FA Cup quarter-final clash against Sunderland.
Fellaini said: “You also know they’re going to give 100 per cent because it’s a long time since they’ve played and they will want to play again.
“They’re important and when they come in they help the team. They have a lot of experience, they are international quality players and they’re fresh too because they’ve had a long rest. It’s a good time to be getting players back and they are important players too - Jagielka, Ossie, Jack Rodwell, Seamus was back last week. It’s important the team has a lot of players, it’s important for the cup and the league.”
David Moyes has had to do without Jagielka and Osman since a 2-1 defeat against Bolton in early January, while youngster Rodwell has played just 103 minutes since impressing on his senior England debut back in November.
Jelavic, meanwhile, will be keen to get his Everton career up and running after recovering from a stomach problem.
The striker has managed just 30 minutes in a Blues shirt since arriving from Glasgow Rangers in January but has travelled to Croatia for his country’s friendly with Sweden on Wednesday.
And Fellaini has been impressed by what he’s seen from the 26-year-old in training, and expects him to quickly prove worth his £5.5m price-tag. He said: “I think he is a good finisher and I hope he scores a lot for Everton.”