Europa League play-offs Preview

Everton face Hajduk Split at Goodison Park in the first-leg of their Europa League play-off.

The winner of the tie will make the group stages and The Toffees are taking the competition seriously, despite the fact their Premier League campaign has already begun.

Everton have started the season well with victory over MFK Ruzomberok and a league win over Stoke City.

“We have prepared the same as we always do,” says Everton boss Ronald Koeman.

“We have not given the game any less attention than we would for Monday. I like to win the game and to reach the group stage. Thursday is more important than Monday and after, Monday is more important than next Thursday. That’s how we need to be.

“I try to put out the strongest team to start the game. That will take into account the tactical aspects of each game. That will mean different players start and different options in terms of substitutions.”

Elsewhere, some of Europe’s biggest clubs are looking to make the group stages with the likes of Red Star Belgrade, Fenerbahce, Panathinaikos, Athletic Bilbao, Marseille, Ajax, AC Milan and Dynamo Kiev in action.

See below for a run-down on the game, including predictions from former England, Crystal Palace and Tottenham midfielder and columnist Andy Gray and our own Football Insider Graeme Bailey  together with everything you need to know from the bookies – with BoyleSports’s Leon Blanche.

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Everton 20:05 Hajduk Split
17th August 2017
Goodison Park 
1st leg 

TEAM NEWS: Striker Sandro Ramirez is a doubt with a heel injury and James McCarthy has a knee injury, but new signing Gylfi Sigurdsson was not registered in time.
KEY FACT: Hajduk Split are undefeated in 9 of their last 10 matches
MATCH ODDS: Everton 3/10 Draw 15/4 Hajduk 10/1
ANDY SAYS: I think Everton will see this through but might not be as easy as some think – 2-1
GRAEME SAYS: No mistake from Everton here and they overcome this with some to spare – 3-0
Everton will be too good in this one, and will win comfortably – 2-0
BOYLE SPORT PICK: Everton Under 2.5 goals at @21/20
FOOTBALLIndex – One to follow: Summer signing Michael Keane is an interesting prospect – available at just over £1


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