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Every game vital - Daws

Michael Dawson is relishing the challenge of this key phase of the season.

Michael Dawson is relishing the challenge of this key phase of the season.

Sunday's potential cracker against Everton is the third match of a significant week where we've climbed back into fourth spot in the Barclays Premier League after beating Wigan and moved into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a convincing 4-0 win against Bolton.

With internationals next midweek and that big FA Cup tie at Fulham on Saturday week, March 6 - with a semi-final place at Wembley at stake - Michael underlined the importance of Sunday's fixture against the Toffees.

"Every game at the moment is massive," said the popular, in-form defender. "We're fourth in the Premier League and we want to stay there and we now go to Fulham in the FA Cup and of course we'd all love to go to Wembley and win the FA Cup.

"As a player, it's where you want to be at this stage of the season. Every game is vital.

"There is nothing between the teams going for fourth spot and we've got to earn the right to stay there, starting against Everton. We're all aiming to put in another good performance on Sunday."

You got the impression that our 2-2 draw at Goodison in December still rankles with Michael.

He was on the scoresheet as we dominated, looked to be cruising at 2-0 up only for Everton to haul themselves back into it with two goals in the final 10 minutes. Even then, we missed a last-minute penalty to win it.

That day certainly acted as a springboard for Everton, who have lost just once in 11 matches in the Premier League since to move up to eighth in the table.

Key players have returned and their form was there for all to see when they deservedly beat United 3-1 at Goodison last weekend.

"We were 2-0 up at Everton and obviously disappointed not to end up winning that game," said ‘Daws'. "Since then, they've been on a great run.

"They've got a few players back from injury over the last few weeks and they are a good team, we all know that. They had a fantastic result against United last week and they are a team playing with bags of confidence. It should be a good game on Sunday."