Everton assistant coach Alan Irvine admits Andy Johnson is "hurting" over his goal drought.

"We will stick by Andy, he is a terrific player and it was only last week that Sir Alex Ferguson was praising him after the Manchester United game," said Irvine.

"Sir Alex said he was a real handful, always on the move and a very good player. And we think he's right. It is important there is no knee-jerk reaction on our part. He is hurting so much at the moment and we have to get him through it."