Toffee men bid to make up for sticky start

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EVERTON captain Phil Neville has insisted the club’s off-the-pitch woes will not prove a distraction on the field ahead of tomorrow’s Carling Cup tie with Sheffield United.

With chairman Bill Kenwright admitting the Merseysiders are no longer able to borrow money from the bank, Everton’s woes increased when they were beaten 1-0 by Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

Manager David Moyes views United’s visit as an opportunity to kick-start a season which, despite still being at the embryonic stage, is already being engulfed by gloom and doom surrounding the blue and white half of the city.

Neville, speaking ahead of the second-round clash, said: “There feels as if there is a lot of negativity surrounding the place at the moment and everyone can feel it.

“I think it’s important to say though that there are a lot of good things happening here.

“We’ve got great foundations, great supporters and a set of players that have done really well these last three or four years.

“Supporters will say it’s easy for me to talk about the spirit of the club but the spirit is what has set this club apart.

“We have got a lot of good things going on and we can’t let these destabilise us.”

Neville, who recently agreed a contract extension, could start alongside Jack Rodwell and fellow youngster Ross Barkley against United at Goodison Park.

The performances of Rodwell - who has been linked with some of England’s leading clubs - and Barkley provided cause for encouragement during last weekend’s shock defeat.

Before the match Moyes admitted that his targets this season were to avoid relegation and then bid for a top ten finish.

“There is a carrot there for us to prove him wrong,” said Neville.