Norwich V Everton at Carrow Road - Match Preview
Updated Friday, 6th April 2012
Ruddy: Toffees will be focused
Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy does not expect former club Everton to have one eye on the FA Cup semi-final when they head to Carrow Road.
The Toffees have slowly moved up the Barclays Premier League after a run of just two defeats since mid-January, climbing above Merseyside rivals Liverpool, who they face at Wembley on April 14.
With no worries of being drawn into a relegation battle, Everton manager David Moyes could be forgiven were he to rotate his squad for the trip to Norfolk.
However, Ruddy - who left Goodison Park in July 2010 having made just one first-team appearances - is in no doubt of what challenge awaits the Canaries as they aim to take another step closer to Premier League survival.
"Everton always finish really well, which is testament to the drive they have got from the management and the players themselves to really kick on and make something of the season," Ruddy told Canaries Player. "They have spent #7million on [Nikica] Jelavic, which is being returned in goals, and they have brought in another couple of players which have added to their squad.
"Obviously they have got the FA Cup semi-final coming up in a couple of weeks, but they have two [league] games before that, which I am sure they will be focused on. They will want to go into the semis as high on confidence as they can be, so it is up to us to ruffle their feathers."
Boss Paul Lambert will have leading scorer Grant Holt available again following the captain's one-match ban last week for a red card after scoring twice in the win over Wolves.
Meanwhile, Moyes believes promoted teams coming into the Barclays Premier League now have a much better chance of survival than in the past.
The Scot thinks improved financial structures present those sides who make it out of the npower Championship a better platform on which to build.
However, he is of the opinion that younger managers with fresh ideas are giving those teams the chance to compete more consistently.
Everton face one of those sides in the form of Norwich, who have had an impressive first season back in the top flight with Lambert winning many plaudits for the way he has set up his team.
Swansea, under Brendan Rodgers, have done similarly and Moyes does not believe it is a coincidence both teams have relatively young managers with Rodgers aged 39 and Lambert 42.
"The teams who come up are not automatic favourites to go back down and you've seen that with the likes of Swansea and Norwich this season," said the Toffees boss.
"They have some momentum from getting promoted and what it says is the teams who come out of the Championship are in a financially better condition than those at the bottom end of the Premier League, which allows them to buy some players in.
"Some younger coaches come in with some different styles and are brave with what they do and that is great credit to them.
"I don't think the managers are doing things a great deal differently, I just think they are coming in with fresh ideas.
"They are young and hungry and want to be successful and want to have longevity in the game so they know they have to get results and play in a style which will give them that chance.
"You can see what Swansea have done and Paul Lambert has brought his team up and played three or four styles at different times.
"It has been a little bit of a surprise how well they have done but Paul has done a brilliant job in bringing them up and they have taken some big scalps."
Midfielders Jack Rodwell, Seamus Coleman and Royston Drenthe all remain doubtful for the trip.
Rodwell (hamstring) and Coleman (thigh) have missed the last five and four matches respectively but are edging closer to full fitness.
Drenthe has been on extended compassionate leave having last featured against Arsenal on March 21.
|04 Apr 2012|
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|24 Mar 2012|
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