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Everton captain Phil Neville faces knee operation

Phil Neville (left) and John Pantsil
Neville was carried off in Everton's 2-1 loss at Fulham in September

Everton captain Phil Neville's comeback from a knee injury will be delayed as the utility player needs minor surgery.

The 32-year-old suffered the injury in September's 2-1 defeat at Fulham and it was initially hoped that he would be back for Wednesday's match at Hull.

But the latest setback means he has been ruled out for a few more weeks.

"Phil has got a bit of a cartilage tear that has got slightly bigger so we feel we have to do something," said Toffees manager David Moyes.

"We were probably expecting Phil to have maybe started against Manchester United [last Saturday] or Hull or maybe Liverpool but it now looks like he is going to be out for another two or three weeks."


England international Neville joined Everton from Manchester United in the summer of 2005 for £3.5m.

Marouane Fellaini and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov will also miss out for Everton at Hull as they are suspended but Steven Pienaar has an outside chance of returning from a knee injury.

Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta, Victor Anichebe, James Vaughan and Leon Osman remain on the casualty list, though, and Moyes has admitted that the situation is troubling.

"It started to wear me down when I heard Phil was going to need an operation," said the Toffees boss.

Everton have won just once in six league matches, a run which has left them 14th in the table, and a positive result at the KC Stadium is imperative.

It is not as if there are all these injured players ready to ride over the hill and bail us out

David Moyes

"I'm sure everyone has opinions about what we can do but take it from me I'm trying everything I can to find something which might work better," said Moyes.

"We have no wide players right now and we have players who have to come out as we feel we have overplayed them.

"We are trying to introduce new players to the team as well but we have also got suspensions, which you get.

"When you get a job in the Premier League it is all about trying to get sides who can win games.

"At the moment it is a struggle but in the past we have done it and I'm sure we will do it again.

"It is by far the worst injury list I have had as a manager but what's the point in me coming out and saying that?

"I'm sure there are managers who have had far more than me. You just have to get on with it and we will do it.

"I think Baz [head physio Mick Rathbone] is in a clinic for depression at the moment. It has been a tough time for the medical team.

"The disappointing thing is there isn't anyone really on the horizon.

"It is not as if there are all these injured players ready to ride over the hill and bail us out.

"That is why it is far better concentrating on the fit ones and demanding of them to play better than they are at the moment."

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see also
Hull City 3-2 Everton
25 Nov 09 |  Premier League
Everton's Neville 'never' joining Man City
20 Nov 09 |  Premier League
Neville injury blow for Everton
17 Sep 09 |  Everton

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