Everton stalwart Leighton Baines admits that he wishes Sunderland boss David Moyes well – after Saturday’s Premier League clash at Goodison Park.
Left-back Baines is set to make his 300th Premier League appearance for the Toffees against the manager who signed him for the Toffees in the summer of 2007.
Moyes heads back to Goodison, where he spent 11 years as manager, with bottom club Sunderland desperate for points, but on-form Everton, eight games unbeaten in the league, are sure to be a tough test.
“It will be good to see him, as always,” 32-year-old Baines told evertonfc.com. “He was an important figure in my career and I’ll be forever grateful to him for bringing me to the football club and giving me the opportunity to play here.
“He was brilliant for us, he did extremely well with what he had available to him.
“I wish him every success, except for when we come up against him.”
Meanwhile, on-song Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, with a goal and three assists in his last two matches, is looking to clinch a fourth straight home victory as boss Ronald Koeman’s hard work pays dividends.
“The gaffer played as a defensive midfielder and defender and you can see that with the sessions he puts on,” Barkley told evertontv.
“We are well drilled and we understand what our roles are on the pitch.
“With the intense work we do in training, I feel defensively we are much more organised and I’ve learnt a lot over the past few months.
“He has one-on-ones with all the players to tell them what he expects and I try to give what he expects. He wants us to keep our standards high.
“You can see looking around that the lads are listening every time he is speaking because he’s got a good understanding of football and we all know he was really successful as a player himself.”