Baxter set to take centre stage
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 26 February 2013
JOSE Baxter will again be given the task of firing out passes from a midfield role at Everton tonight.
Bootle-boy Baxter (21) heads back to his former Goodison Park stomping ground for the first time - to face the club with which he had a 14-year connection until last summer.
Athletic’s top scorer’s midfield role means he gets the ball as much as possible.
“I have played Jose in central midfield because he is so good on the ball,” said caretaker manager Tony Philliskirk. “When he plays off a striker he is relying on service from other people.”
Philliskirk was last night facing tricky decisions over his selection for the FA Cup fifth-round replay alongside coaches Paul Gerrard and Mick Priest.
He added: “Jose aside, we have James Wesolowski, Dean Furman and Carl Winchester who count central midfield as their favourite positions.
“And if you were to play Jose up front, there is also Chris Iwelumo, Matt Smith and Lee Barnard. There are some really tough calls to make.”
As for his own role, Philliskirk reiterated just how reluctant he is in the glare of the first-team spotlight.
“If someone else comes in, I will very happily get out of the way. I find all this very uncomfortable.
“I have just taken it a game at a time. Tonight I am standing on the touchline in the FA Cup fifth-round against a top team from the Premier League and one of the best British managers of the past 11 years.
Whatever happens, I’ll always have that on the CV...”
Athletic (probable, 4-4-2): Bouzanis; Brown, Tarkowski, Mvoto, Grounds; Croft, Wesolowski, Baxter, Obita; Smith, Barnard. Subs (from): Cisak, Byrne, Furman, Murray, Winchester, Millar, Mellor, Iwelumo, Simpson.
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