By 90Min
November 23, 2017

Evertonians won't exactly be flocking to Goodison Park on Thursday evening to witness their team play a dead rubber match against visitors Atalanta.

The Toffees cannot qualify for the last-32 of UEFA's club tournament after their European adventure ended in exasperating fashion with a squalid 2-1 defeat loss to Lyon three weeks ago.

Their venture back into Europe - seen as a possible contender to end their long wait for silverware no less - has been abject from the start thanks to a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of the Serie A outfit back in September, and none of the Blues' stars can have complaints if Goodison isn't packed to the rafters tonight.

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However, any Blues fans making the journey to the Grand Old Lady may gain a glimpse of the future if temporary first-team manager David Unsworth opts to ring the changes for a game with nothing riding on it except pride.

The Under-23s head coach has helped bring out the potential in the likes of Tom Davies, Jonjoe Kenny, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Beni Baningime in the club's reserve side, and hasn't been shy about incorporating them into his ranks at senior level during his five matches in an interim boss capacity.

With the chance to rest key first-teamers ahead of a gruelling festive fixture schedule, Unsworth could decide to throw in a few more talented youngsters when Atalanta roll into town too.

It would be an opportunity that any starlet would be made not to grasp with both hands.

The likes of Morgan Feeney, David Henen and Bassala Sambou have seen their games brought on by Unsworth over the past 12 to 18 months, and could feature in the 18-man matchday squad against La Dea even if it's on the substitutes' bench from the off.

If any of the club's youth stars saw game time on the Goodison pitch then they would have no greater opportunity to prove that they could, in fact, offer something new or different to the first-team picture.

Both Kenny and Baningime have showed off their potential and talent in Unsworth's time at the helm and, with Everton's managerial search dragging into a possible sixth week, there may yet a chance or two for anyone that Unsworth may call up.

Everton's former crop of young stars, who faced BATE Borisov in a Europa League dead rubber back in December 2009, failed to make the grade in the end but not many will argue that that match helped them realise what it took to make it as a professional first-team footballer.

If Unsworth does look to promote a couple of upcoming stars into his squad against Atalanta, it will be an opportunity that cannot be passed up - especially for those wanting to make Goodison their home for years to come.

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