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Fulham-Everton Preview

(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Goodison Park plays host to a mid-table battle on Saturday afternoon when Everton face Fulham.

Neither team have any realistic chance of European qualification this season, but a top-half finish is still in sight and Everton centre-back Sylvain Distin has promised that his side will keep going to the end of the season.

"Maybe some people feel if we finish seventh or ninth, if we don't qualify for Europe it doesn't change much," said Distin. "But personally I want to finish as high as possible - no matter who is in front, or who is behind.

"If you watched the training today or yesterday, you would know we are still working really hard. We finish well every season and finish high in the table. That's great."

A win for Fulham could see Martin Jol's side go above Everton in the table, and the Dutch manager believes that is evidence of how well the Cottagers have played this season.

"Everyone tells me, week in week out, that Everton are a fantastic side so if that is true then we are pretty good as well because we are just two points behind them," said Jol. "I want to be a mid-table side, or even a bit better, from the start until the end of the season because if you struggle to be in mid-table until the last game of the season, then that is not what you want.

"We were probably safe six weeks ago so that is good, especially if you recognise the fact that we changed our formation and brought in five or six new players.

"So I am very pleased that we are on almost similar points that we were on at the same stage last year."

Everton are without Leighton Baines (hamstring), while Jack Rodwell (hamstring) is doubtful. Fulham have concerns over Stephen Kelly (wrist), while Bryan Ruiz (metatarsal) and Steve Sidwell (hernia) are out.

Everton won 3-1 when these two teams met at Craven Cottage in October. Fulham have never won a match at Everton, while the Toffees have won the last 17 league meetings at Goodison Park.

Everton have lost just once since January 4th, winning five of the last six and conceding just one goal in that time. No team in the Premier League has scored fewer goals away from home than Fulham's 11. These two teams are the only sides in the top-flight to have not been shown a red card this season. Only Robin van Persie and Luis Suarez have hit the post more often than Clint Dempsey this term.

Updated April 26, 2012

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