Everton have made “factual progress” as they look to claw their way out of the relegation zone, says Sean Dyche.

The Toffees visit Nottingham Forest on Sunday in a huge game at the bottom of the table.

Forest have a four-point advantage over Everton ahead of the match, with Dyche’s team having lost 4-0 to Arsenal and 2-0 to Aston Villa in the past week.

Everton won two of their first three games under the former Burnley manager, though, and Dyche believes the improvements are there to be seen.

“We can find a way of operating with this group,” he said.

“My job is to look at the bigger picture and when I got here it was one point from the last five games, four points from the previous nine. Now it’s six points in the first five.

“It doesn’t seem like a lot but it is when you’ve been in that form. If you’re getting four points from nine games and then six points from five that is a big shift, a factual shift.

“The work is not done but factually there is progress. Distance covered, more efforts on goal, more chances, more crosses – factual progress. It still doesn’t guarantee you anything but it does increase your chances of winning. It is a process.”

Forest boss Steve Cooper has been mooted as a potential managerial target for several Premier League clubs, but his response to those rumours was emphatic.

“Nottingham Forrest means everything to me and this job that I do, from the day I walked in to where we are now,” Cooper said. “The only thing that’s important to me in my life, apart from my family, is this football club, and that’s where I’m at.”


Nottingham Forest – Brennan Johnson

Brennan Johnson has scored three goals in his last three Premier League home games, while he also scored Forest’s goal in their 1-1 draw with Everton in August. The last Forest player to score home and away against Everton in the same league season was Steve Hodge in 1982-83.

Everton – Neal Maupay

With Dominic Calvert-Lewin seemingly unlikely to feature as he continues his recovery from a hamstring issue, Neal Maupay seems set to lead Everton’s line again. The former Brighton and Hove Albion striker has struggled all season, scoring just once, and Dyche will be looking for that form to change soon.


Forest are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League home games (W4 D4), with only Manchester United (11) on a longer current run, while Everton are winless in their last eight Premier League games against promoted sides (D3 L5), the longest ever such run by an ever-present side in the competition.

However, Everton have kept a clean sheet in six of their 11 Premier League games against Forest, who have lost their last two home games against Everton, as many as they had in their previous 29 against them at the City Ground in all competitions.

Given Everton’s woeful away form, though, it is hard to see them having the firepower to claim a result here, and a draw seems a likely bet.


Nottingham Forest31.9 per cent

Everton38.2 per cent

Draw29.9 per cent