Seamus Coleman has expressed his relief having thought his fifth booking of the season was going to cost him a place in this weekend's Merseyside derby against Liverpool.
The 22-year-old was cautioned for unsporting behaviour in Saturday's FA Cup third round tie against Championship outfit Scunthorpe at Glanford Park on an afternoon when he put in another man-of-the-match performance in a 5-1 win.
However, having been substituted in the 78th minute by manager David Moyes, Coleman slumped into the dugout believing he was going to miss Sunday's derby match at at Anfield.
Usually five yellow cards means an automatic one-match ban. However, new rules introduced this season state that if a player has less than five cautions by the turn of the year then he has to amass 10 to get a suspension.
"I thought it would've cost me," Coleman told the Donegal Democrat/People's Press this week from his home in Killybegs. "When I came off the pitch after being substituted I said to Phil Neville that I'd be missing the derby as it was my fifth booking of the season but he told me that it's 10 bookings required for a suspension after Christmas. It means that I am available for selection in the derby, which is brilliant.
"There will be a lot of talk about the game in and around the city this week. There will be a little more buzz in training with the fact the derby is coming up, but we'll keep an eye on the game and not get overly-hyped up until Sunday. Of course Kenny Dalglish will be making a return to Anfield but we cannot let that affect our preparations. We will be concentrating on our game and will be hoping for the win."
Coleman had another fine game on the right of midfield on Saturday. His fifth goal of the season, having previously netted against Brentford, Blackpool, West Ham United and Tottenham, was a header from a Jermaine Beckford cross on 58 minutes, which put the Premier League club 3-1 in front.
Louis Saha and Beckford had put Everton two up at the break, and although Michael Collins pulled one back for the hosts, Coleman, Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines rounded off a comfortable win. Everton will now play holders Chelsea in the fourth round at the end of this month.
"It's Chelsea at Goodison and the home draw is the most important thing," Coleman added. "It's going to be a really difficult game, one of the hardest games that we could've got but we don't really fear anyone, especially at home. We played them last month at Stamford Bridge and did pretty well in a 1-1 draw."
Meanwhile at the Walker's Stadium on Sunday, Conrad Logan from Ramelton and Lifford's Shay Given had to be content with the roles of substitute goalkeeper for their respective sides Leicester City and Manchester City in a 2-2 draw.
Given has made no secret of the fact he would like a way out of Eastlands in the January transfer window to find first-team football with a number of clubs said to be interested including Celtic, Arsenal, Fulham and Roma. City take on Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday at Molineux in the Premier League.
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