DAVID MOYES admits Nikica Jelavic reminds him of Croatia’s all-time record goal scorer Davor Suker.
Jelavic has been nothing short of a revelation since he swapped Rangers for Everton in a £5.5million February transfer.
The Croatian has scored five goals for the Toffees, the latest two coming in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Norwich at Carrow Road.
The 26-year-old opened the scoring with the cleverest of deft flicks in the first half and showed predatory instinct by turning home Steven Pienaar’s cross to score the Blues’ second after the break.
Everton have longed for a regular goalscorer ever since Louis Saha went off the boil after a succession of injuries, and Moyes is so delighted with his new hitman that he admits he sees shades of France ’98 top scorer Suker in the former Rangers striker.
“He does (remind me of Suker),” the Everton boss said. “He sees getting goals as part of his job, his role in the team, but he has helped link us up as well.
“He is a presence as a centre forward so he has been good for us.
“He wants to get a goal and he showed that against Norwich.”
Since Jelavic arrived at Goodison Park, the Merseysiders have leapfrogged bitter rivals Liverpool to reach seventh in the Premier League – an achievement which Moyes thinks is no coincidence.
“We couldn’t score at all in the first half of the season and he makes us look like we are going to do it more often,” Moyes added. “He has adapted really well. At Rangers he probably had more of the ball than he has had here in the Premier League so he has to do a little bit more on the other side of the game, but overall he has done well.”
Everton would have registered their third straight league win for the first time in over two years on Saturday had Jonny Howson and Grant Holt not taken advantage of some slack defending to equalise for the Canaries in an entertaining game at Carrow Road. Moyes was disappointed to draw after taking the lead twice, but he must quickly eradicate thoughts of the stalemate and instead concentrate on today’s game against Sunderland at Goodison Park.
After that the Toffees face a huge FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool on Saturday and Moyes admits he may have to shuffle his pack given the importance of next weekend’s game against their neighbours.
“This is a difficult time of the year,” he added. “I will have a look and try to see what I can do. I have a few ideas up my sleeve.”
Marouane Fellaini started on the bench on Saturday but is likely to be recalled alongside Darron Gibson in midfield.
Jack Rodwell (hamstring) and Royston Drenthe, who has been on compassionate leave since March 21, missed out on the draw at Norwich but could be available to take on the Black Cats.
Seamus Coleman made his return from a three-week thigh injury lay-off as a substitute on Saturday and may also feature against Martin O’Neill’s side.