Moyes makes case for defence
Everton boss David Moyes believes the role of the defence has been overlooked in his side's recent resurgence.
Moyes feels his defenders received some unfair criticism during the Toffees' sluggish start to the campaign because deficiencies elsewhere on the pitch left them exposed.
Now the Merseysiders appear to be making their customary strong finish to a season, it is the likes of attacking pair Nikica Jelavic and playmaker Steven Pienaar who are earning the plaudits.
Yet while Moyes is delighted with the performances of both those two January signings, and another new arrival in Darron Gibson, the Scot is not overlooking his back line.
Moyes said: "I think we have always had a strong defensive base and that is why we tend to be strong.
"But at the start of the year we were being asked questions about the goals we were conceding but we weren't playing that well and we couldn't score.
"But over the year we have tended to be quite defensively strong and hopefully we will finish with a strong defensive record.
"In the last few games it's been important to keep clean sheets to encourage us to get more points.
"I think we have all had a big lift from scoring the goals from January. Let's hope we continue to do so."
Ordinarily Leighton Baines would feature prominently in any discussion of the merits of Everton's defence, but the England international has missed the last three games through injury.
Centre-back Sylvain Distin has filled in at left-back and Moyes has hailed the Frenchman's flexibility.
He said: "I think everyone who comes to Everton knows they might have to do more than one job.
"We weren't quite so sure about Sylvain going to left-back but most of the players are adaptable. Phil Neville has played in midfield many times, and at right-back.
"Sylvain has helped us out at left-back and the form of our three centre-backs has allowed us to change them around.
"We have lost a bad goal here or there but in the main they have been in decent form. We have kept a few clean sheets, and got pretty good competition there."
Everton, who recently scored four goals against Manchester United and Fulham before drawing at Stoke in midweek, are unbeaten in their last seven Barclays Premier League games.
They will hope to maintain their good run as they travel to relegated Wolves on Sunday.
They cannot finish higher than their current seventh position but victory would take them closer to achieving a higher finish than rivals Liverpool for only the second time since they won the title in 1987.
Yet Moyes does not know what to expect from a Wolves side who put aside the dejection of relegation to draw 4-4 at Swansea last week.
Moyes said: "You never know when you play teams who are down.
"At the end of the day it is still a Premier League game.
"Those players at Wolves will be concentrating on their job and we'll be concentrating on ours.
"It will be a tough game but we are in good form and we are concentrating and hoping to play as attractively as we did against Stoke and as well as we did against Fulham.
"We are trying to keep the form going, keep scoring goals and trying not to concede too many."
Everton will again be without Baines at Molineux while Victor Anichebe is sidelined after suffering a groin injury at Stoke. Neville and Gibson are rated doubtful by Moyes after knocks but will be assessed.