Everton boss Sam Allardyce has reaffirmed his side's goals for the end of the season, as well as discussed the possible ins and outs of Goodison Park ahead of his side taking on Chelsea this weekend.
The Toffees have seemingly removed themselves from any immediate relegation danger since the 63-year-old's appointment on Merseyside, sitting in ninth - 10 points above the drop zone.
So, Real Madrid vs Barcelona is on at the same time as Everton vs Chelsea.— Ell Bretland (@EllBretland) December 20, 2017
Feel for the match-going fans who won't get to see the world's best team and players in action.
Imagine the walk to the Bernabeu, knowing you'll miss Jonjoe Kenny and Tom Davies bossing it for Everton.
In the six matches the former England manager has taken charge of across all competitions, the Blues have claimed 16 points from a possible 18, but the former defender knows their job is not done yet.
“My first is to make sure we secure a top half finish", Allardyce told his pre-match press conference, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo. "If by the end of February we are doing better than then we can push for more.
"A top half finish is our first priority. We are not out of trouble completely but we are in a very good position."
As expected with January just over a week away, marking the opening of the season's winter transfer window, talk swiftly moved onto the potential arrivals and departures at Everton over the next month.
This included the club's recent links with Sunderland centre-back Lamine Kone, who Allardyce signed while in the hot seat at the Black Cats, as well as the future of Goodison Park favourite Ross Barkley.
"Not at the moment. What a shock that came up?" the Englishman added when probed about reported interest in the Wearsiders' defender.
“He was one of the outstanding defenders and produced a remarkable run of performances at Sunderland.
"Since then I’m not sure what has happened, so that puts a doubt and I’m not sure I’d be interested."
"If everything continues the way it is, early January," Allardyce said surrounding the current availability of Barkley when asked about the player's future with the club.
"But it is not in our hands at the minute, it’s in Ross’ hands. The door is always open if he wants to talk about staying, but whether he chooses that, who knows?"
The Blues welcome the current reigning Premier League champions Chelsea to the north west on Saturday lunchtime, for what will be arguably the relatively new boss' toughest test to date.
"They have only lost one in eight. They are in good form", Allardyce added. "He (Antonio Conte) has talked about fatigue, which we all talked about this time of year. Fatigue can be overridden by mental strength. You can drive yourself forward and we have to do that against Chelsea. We have got to play our best."