Everton manager Sean Dyche is well aware time is running out for his relegation-threatened side but hopes a change of routine can harness the power of home advantage and give them the boost they need.
After just one win in the last nine matches his side are in the bottom three, with just six games left to extend a 69-year stay in the top flight.
What little strength they have had has been at Goodison Park, where they have picked up 18 of the 28 points, and there has now been a move to weaponise the support of fans ahead of the visit of high-flying Newcastle.
Since Dyche arrived in late January players have driven to the match in their own cars but following pleas from supporters’ groups they will arrive in a coach so fans can repeat last year’s late-season welcomes by lining Goodison Road armed with flags and smoke canisters.
“All Evertonians, not just those who come in the stadium, know just how important this run of games is,” said Dyche.
“They are all important games but of course this last clutch of games are bound to be important because of what it means.
“It (the coach welcome) was well documented last season and a couple of fan groups mentioned about it this season and I’ve a massive respect for them from what I’ve seen and heard from the fans since I’ve been here.
“They wanted to play their part, if that can make a difference, and beyond that we want the team to play their part and make a difference.
“I think it helps to create an atmosphere but the focus remains on the whistle blowing because that alone can’t win you the game as you have to make sure you are in the right frame of mind regardless.”
Everton will be boosted by the return of midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure, one of the best players since Dyche took over, following his three-match suspension for a red card against Tottenham earlier this month.
“I certainly don’t ask players to make amends for moments in a game,” added the Toffees boss when asked whether the player owed the side for his costly absence.
“You want the passion, pride and belief in that player and he’s been delivering that.
“He has been a driving force within the team unit and he was the catalyst in certain games and other players followed that.
“Now we want other players to lead it and him to be part of it.”
The match will see the return of former winger Anthony Gordon and while his acrimonious January departure may stoke up fans’ anger, Dyche does not believe it will affect his players.
“I don’t see why they get caught up in any noise about it. It was before my time here,” he said.
“That player left, other players get a chance with that player leaving. I don’t see why our players will be worried about that rather just focusing on the game.”
Dyche will make late decisions on captain Seamus Coleman and midfielder Amadou Onana after both missed the last two matches with hamstring and groin injuries respectively.