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Feb 1, 2013

Moyes concerned by pitch

David Moyes has voiced his concern that the Goodison Park pitch could hamper Everton in their search for success this season.

• Blog: Baines beats Baggies

Moyes' side moved to within a point of the Champions League qualification spots by beating West Brom 2-1 on Wednesday.

But the Goodison turf cut up during the game, which disappointed the Everton manager as he prepares his side to host relegation-threatened Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday.

The game is scheduled to be Everton's last at home for a month, with league trips to Manchester United and Norwich - either side of an FA Cup fifth-round visit to Oldham - to follow before Reading travel to Goodison Park on March 2.

Moyes said: "I'm disappointed with Goodison. I'm disappointed with the pitch. It's coming up. We're trying to play good football and it's not that great at times."

Asked if there was the possibility of doing work on the pitch over the coming month, Moyes added: "I don't know. I've not even spoken to the groundsman. The groundsman's not said anything about it. Maybe that month will give it a chance to settle down.

"But it's not as if we've played loads of games at Goodison this year. It's not as if we've had loads of cup ties or lots of reserve games on it, so it's not had an awful lot of football played on it."

Moyes, meanwhile, is hoping that Nikica Jelavic will rediscover his scoring touch against Villa after being dropped to the bench on Wednesday night.

The Croatia international striker was left out of the starting line-up after a seven-game scoreless run, with Victor Anichebe beginning the match against West Brom as a lone striker.

"It's been something I'd been considering for a while," Moyes said of the decision to drop Jelavic. "I wanted to give him every opportunity to get his goals. I wanted to give him the chances to do it. But it just didn't quite happen.

"The team have been going along nicely, though, so it was something I was a little bit loathe to do. I decided in the end to give him a breather, and I thought Victor did well in the game. He gave us something different.

"I hope we'll get Jela back to form. That's the key to it."

Jelavic is set to return to the starting line-up against Villa, as is midfielder Darron Gibson, who returned after a month out with a thigh injury to appear as a substitute against West Brom.

"There are times when you put people on the bench in the hope you can get them on for that 20 minutes if you can't get them a training or reserve game,"Moyes said.

"It was important he got a bit of the game. We need him back to add to the numbers and he's in contention for tomorrow's game."

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