Sam Allardyce explains why Oumar Niasse has started regularly

Everton manager Sam Allardyce has heaped praise on the hold-up play and work-rate of Oumar Niasse, who has become the Toffees' first-choice striker in the past three matches.

The Senegal international has been picked ahead of both Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun in the pecking order, and he popped up with a goal during the 3-1 triumph over Crystal Palace last weekend.

The Toffees are due to travel for warm winter training to Dubai with no game in the upcoming weekend, and speaking ahead of the trip, Allardyce talked up the importance of Niasse upfront, he said: "The one thing he did, that he should have done against Leicester, was score. It was a very good header at an important time.

"His hold-up play and his work-rate were good. He has got competition – obviously Cenk’s very disappointed that he is not playing – but when somebody up front is doing the job as well as he can and making an impression on the team, then Dominic and Cenk have to be a little bit more patient."

Allardyce had placed key emphasis on bolstering the attack front by recruiting the likes of Theo Walcott and Tosun last month, but the latter has found himself warming the substitutes' bench with the manager willing to give him time to adjust to the rigours of the Premier League.

Everton picked up their second win in three matches after the triumph over Palace last weekend, and this has helped them stay clear of the relegation places. As a result, the Toffees are likely to be looking above them in the standings with seventh place assuring them of a potential Europa League qualification spot next season.

Despite their slow start, the Toffees find themselves just two points behind Burnley, who are in seventh, and with the additional strikeforce, and they will be aiming to capitalise on the Clarets' downslide to fight for the final European spot.