Pienaar eager for return to Everton
Steven Pienaar has promised to emulate Landon Donovan in his second spell at Everton as he prepares to face Wigan.
The South African winger (29) left Everton for Tottenham last January but has now returned to Goodison Park for the rest of the season on loan after struggling for regular football at Spurs.
Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic could also make his Everton debut at the DW Stadium after completing a £5.5-million move from Rangers on Tuesday.
Pienaar got his career on track when he joined the Blues in 2007 after a difficult spell at Borossia Dortmund and he is hoping to do the same this time around.
He will join up with another former teammate, Donovan, who is impressing in a second loan spell from LA Galaxy.
Pienaar said: “I have been speaking to the players a lot and when the manager gave me a call on Tuesday it made things much easier.”
“Like all the other players I have to come and fight for my place ... I know it is not going to be easy, the team has had two good wins so I will have to come and fight and show I deserve a place ... You could say there is pressure because people will expect the same stuff but maybe I’ll have a Landon Donovan effect and do even better than last time,” he said.
“You have to look at someone to inspire you and what Donovan has done in the last few games.
He’s been playing really well and hopefully I can do the same ... It feels great to be back. I just want to play football and got an opportunity to come back and play. I will definitely take it with both hands,” Pienaar added.
A step forward
Jelavic has been in prolific form in Scotland, where he scored 30 goals in 41 SPL starts after joining Rangers from Rapid Vienna in the summer of 2010.
The Croatia international (26) is sure he can maintain that scoring form in the Premier League.
“Of course it’s a step up,” Jelavic said. “The Premier League is the biggest in the world, the strongest, and for me it’s a big step forward in my career so I want to prove myself here and to play well for the club and the supporters.”
“It’s not pressure, I look at it as a challenge. I scored in Vienna, at Rangers and so I can score here as well ... I have my way and my style and I look only at it as a challenge and won’t put any pressure on myself with numbers,” he said.
David Moyes will hope that Jack Rodwell can overcome a hamstring problem but Sylvain Distin, Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman and Leon Osman are all absent through injury.
Colombian Hugo Rodallega could feature again for Wigan after being left on the bench for the 3-1 defeat at Spurs in midweek, following repeated speculation about his future.
Franco Di Santo is likely to overcome a cut leg and Antolin Alcaraz could return from a groin problem.
‘Nothing will distract us’
The Latics are currently bottom of the Premier League and four points from safety.
Manager Roberto Martinez is sure that Rodallega, whose current contract expires in the summer, can make a big difference in the second half of the season despite the likelihood he will leave on a free transfer.
“It is quite clear, [from] the position we are in in the table, that the most important thing is Wigan. Nothing will distract us ... ” Martinez said.
“Individual situations do not matter now as the window is closed ... Everything is around what Wigan need in the next 15 games. Individual situations are not going to benefit or hinder what we are trying to do ... I’m delighted as we have Hugo now for the next 15 games. Everything else is not important at all ... Hugo has shown over the last few seasons how important and affective he has been over the last few seasons.”—AFP