By George Overhill

25th Jan, 2022 | 9:40pm

Chris Sutton tips Everton for relegation battle

Chris Sutton believes that Everton should be considered a relegation contender this season because of the dysfunction surrounding the club.

Burnley, Watford and Newcastle currently occupy the relegation places, with Norwich firmly in danger, but the Toffees sit just above those four in 16th, and the pundit believes they are far from safe.

Speaking to The Daily Mail, in response to a question about who will beat the drop out of the aforementioned teams, he said: “And let’s not discount Everton as a relegation contender.

“They’re in such a bad state, surrounded by toxicity, that they aren’t out of the woods yet. The same goes for Leeds.”

Painful truth

Unfortunately it is impossible to argue with the ex-Blackburn and Celtic forward, with the situation at Goodison still fairly miserable despite the removal of manager Rafael Benitez.

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The new-manager bounce that was hoped for with club favourite Duncan Ferguson taking temporary charge manifested itself somewhat in the performance on Saturday, but not so in the result, as Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa came away with a 1-0 win.

The fact that it was the former Liverpool skipper, and with a team containing the recently-departed Lucas Digne, who inflicted the latest defeat hardly improved the mood among the supporters.

As such it seems like the ire of the fans has simply shifted from the dugout to the corporate boxes, as on-field protests at the sacked Spanish manager in his final match against Norwich transformed into sit-in protests at the board, and complaints delivered direct to Chairman Bill Kenwright outside the ground.

Without a win in the league since early December, and with the search for a new manager dragging on in an incoherent fashion, things are going to have to change fast if Everton want to be sure of their future in England’s top division.

In other Everton news, a major update on the potential new manager has been shared by Sky Sports from outside the training ground.