Alan Irvine: Everton is a lovely draw but I want to get a good result
Wednesday’s Carabao Cup fourth round tie at Everton will be a special occasion for Alan Irvine.
Not only will West Ham United’s assistant manager take the team as David Moyes continue to self-isolate and manage remotely following his positive COVID-19 test, but he will also return to a club he served with distinction as a player, assistant manager and Academy Director for well over a decade.
The softly-spoken Scot, who helped Everton win the FA Cup in 1984, assisted Moyes for three-and-a-half years and led the Blues’ successful Academy for three seasons, developing the likes of Seamus Coleman and Ross Barkley, remains a popular figure at Goodison Park.
This week, however, there will be no room for sentiment as Irvine, in person, and Moyes, via telephone from home, target a place in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
“It’s a lovely draw for me and would have been a lovely draw for David as well, obviously,” said the Glaswegian, who was on the touchline for Sunday’s comprehensive 4-0 Premier League win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at London Stadium.
“I spent eleven-and-a-half years at Everton in three different roles and it’s a club that’s very close to my heart, but obviously I want to go there and give a good performance and get a good result.”
West Ham head to Goodison Park full of confidence after scoring 13 goals in their last four matches, including eight in Carabao Cup wins over Charlton Athletic and Hull City.
At the same time, the Hammers have conceded just three times, keeping clean sheets against Charlton and, more impressively, Wolves, and Irvine is hoping that trend of prolific goalscoring and resilient defending continues on Wednesday evening.
“We obviously had a good goalscoring record last season as well and in actual fact I think our ‘Goals For’ column was something like seventh or eighth-best in the league but it was our ‘Goals Against’ that were the problem,” he observed.
“It was great for us to get the four goals on Sunday and put that on the back of other good goalscoring performances, but it was also fantastic to get a clean sheet.
“That was really important, because if we can improve that and keep scoring the goals we scored last season, we’ll be in a fantastic position.”
Should the Irons prevail over the Blues, they will reach their first quarter-final since Moyes’ and Irvine’s first spell at the club three seasons ago, and their fourth in the last eight seasons.
West Ham have been to the final of the competition twice, losing to West Bromwich Albion in 1966 and Liverpool, after a replay, in 1981. Since then, the Hammers have reached the semi-finals on four occasions, most recently in 2014.
Wednesday’s tie will be streamed live by the EFL in the UK only. Match passes are available for £10 by clicking here. Prices are set by the EFL, who are managing the service.
Supporters should note that due to Carabao Cup regulations, we will be unable to offer live audio commentary on whufc.com for this fixture.