Former Everton star and Liverpool Echo columnist Michael Ball says outcast striker Oumar Niasse must make an impression if he is part of the Toffees squad that hosts Sunderland in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night.
Despite being frozen out by Ronald Koeman when the Dutchman took the reins at Goodison Park last summer and then being sent out on loan to Hull City in the second half of last season, the Merseyside outfit’s failure to sign a direct replacement for Romelu Lukaku and their lack of goals in recent weeks could see the 27-year-old given a rare opportunity to shine against the Black Cats.
The Senegal international was left out of the Under-23 side’s 1-0 win against Derby County on Monday, and it is widely expected that he will be part of the matchday squad for the visit of the Championship strugglers.
Having lost their last four games in all competitions – conceding 12 goals and scoring none in the process – Koeman is under pressure to turn his team’s fortunes around and bringing Niasse – who scored five goals in 19 appearances for the Tigers last term – back into the equation could prove to be a real boost.
Speaking ahead of the clash on Wednesday, Ball told the Liverpool Echo: “He has gone about his business and not slated the manager or the club.
“If he does get a bit part in the Carabao Cup tie on Wednesday it would be fantatsic.
“He has let Koeman off lightly so far, but if he gets his opportunity he has to take to and give Koeman a dilemma.”
Niasse has yet to score in his seven outings for Everton following his £13.5m move from Spartak Moscow in February 2016, and a first goal in a blue shirt for him on Wednesday would be very welcome right now.