Cheltenham vs. Everton: FA Cup Preview, Team News, Toffees' Likely Starting XI

Matt CheethamCorrespondent IJanuary 5, 2013

Cheltenham vs. Everton: FA Cup Preview, Team News, Toffees' Likely Starting XI

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    The FA Cup Third Round concludes on Monday with Everton's trip to League Two Cheltenham.

    It's the first time these two clubs have met in an official match, with the only previously recorded meeting a testimonial played out in 1990.

    Both sides are enjoying strong league campaigns and will approach this fixture in form, buoyed by some impressive recent results.

    Here's a look at what lies in store on Monday.

A Look at Cheltenham

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    So who exactly are Everton's opponents?

    Cheltenham currently reside in League Two, three tiers and 67 places below Everton, and have been managed by Mark Yates since 2009.

    Having missed out on promotion via the playoffs last season, the club is well-placed—in fourth—to aim for an automatic slot this time around.

    They have a strong home record at Whaddon Road, winning eight of 12 and losing just twice this season. Coming into this game, they have three wins and a draw from their last six encounters.

    According to this interview (via EvertonFC.com), the players to look out for will be Jermaine McGlashan and goalkeeper Scott Brown.

Everton's Cup Woes

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    In recent years, fans would be forgiven for thinking Everton have been a consistent threat in domestic cups.

    Two semifinal and one final appearance over the past five seasons may enhance these opinions, but in truth the Toffees have generally been dire during David Moyes' tenure.

    These three highlighted instances are the only occasions in 21 attempts that Moyes has seen his side reach the quarterfinals. That's 18 out of 21 cup runs Everton have crashed out before the final eight.

    For a side consistently in the top eight of the Premier League throughout that time, it's an especially poor return.

    Embarrassing defeats to Oldham, Shrewsbury and Reading will certainly encourage Cheltenham and should focus the Toffees.

Team News

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    Former West Brom and Birmingham midfielder, Darren Carter, is the host's main injury concern.

    Elsewhere, manager Yates will be debating how best to juggle his strikers. Top scorer Shaun Harrad has lost his place in recent weeks but may perhaps get a chance to establish himself once again in this tie.

    Everton have been carrying a number of injuries for several weeks.

    Darron Gibson, Tony Hibbert and Kevin Mirallas are almost certainly out, while Steven Pienaar, Leighton Baines, Sylvain Distin and Phil Neville may be rested to help heal some recent niggles.

    Seamus Coleman could be a welcome addition to the squad if fully recovered from his latest injury.

Possible Everton XI

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    Everton (4-4-1-1)

    Jan Mucha; Seamus Coleman, Phil Jagielka (c), Shane Duffy, Bryan Oviedo; Steven Naismith, Marouane Fellaini, Leon Osman, Magaye Gueye; Victor Anichebe; Nikica Jelavic.

    This is a difficult lineup to predict, especially with Moyes likely to shuffle his pack. This is certainly not my team but is perhaps a direction Everton may go.

    In goal, Moyes has tended to use Jan Mucha during the early stages of cup competition. 

    In front of Mucha, Coleman will hopefully use this clash as his comeback, and Duffy should get a deserved run-out at centre-back.

    Leighton Baines may well be rested which would give Oviedo his second Everton start, and then it's a gamble on the other centre-back.

    The older legs of Sylvain Distin and Johnny Heitinga's possible involvement in transfer activity put Jagielka as a marginal favourite.

    Midfield is even less clear. It seems Everton's prolific left-side will be rested, so Gueye should join Oviedo in an entirely revamped left flank. 

    Moyes will feel it's important to blend in a sufficient amount of quality and experience, so could opt for a central combination of Osman and Fellaini in the deeper roles.

    This would give Naismith another chance to impress on the right, and Thomas Hitzlsperger and Ross Barkley may also come into contention.

    Up front, an in-form Anichebe will certainly feature. Alongside him, while Apostolos Vellios is pushing for a start, Moyes may feel Jelavic needs a goal to resurrect his league form.