Former Everton captain Kevin Ratcliffe is backing the current team to finish with European qualification next season.

The Welsh great is convinced of an exciting season ahead for the Blues.

"I hope a positive start will put us in good stead to challenge for Europe," Ratcliffe told the Evertonian magazine. "And I think there are worse runs of fixtures to put us on our way.

"When you look at Everton's opening six fixtures, my immediate reaction is that there are some winnable games in there.

"I look at the meetings with QPR, Blackburn and Wigan, in particular, and expect us to get something and then take comfort from the fact that last season we did better against some of the tougher sides like Tottenham and Man City."

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