Everton marksman Tim Cahill plays through pain barrier

Tim Cahill
Cahill has not scored in 11 games for Everton in all competitions this season

Tim Cahill is playing through the pain barrier in an attempt to keep Everton away from the wrong end of the table.

Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Newcastle was Everton's fifth defeat in six Premier League matches, leaving them just a point above the relegation zone.

But they are handicapped by an ankle injury which has limited midfielder Cahill to just one start in four games.

"At the moment he can only be a sub and be an impact player," said Cahill's Blues team-mate Phil Jagielka.

"He's not quite 100% fit. Others wouldn't want to be on the bench. But that shows the type of guy he is.

"He's a big player for us. He loves playing for Everton and we love having him.

"Louis Saha enjoyed it against Newcastle when Tim came on and he had someone to feed off.

"He won his challenges and, even if he doesn't win them, he's a pain," Jagielka told BBC Radio Merseyside.

The Everton and England defender believes that, after a tough run of fixtures, the Blues are not deserving of their current league position - in 17th.

"We are playing some decent stuff in patches and creating some chances," added Jagielka, "but we're not quite finishing them off."

After being beaten 2-0 by Manchester City, Everton then lost by the same scoreline in the Merseyside derby in a game ruined by their wrongful red card for James Rodwell.

Dave Moyes' men then lost to Chelsea twice in the space of 12 days, first in the league, then in the Carling Cup, either side of their one win in October, when Cahill came off the bench to help earn a 3-1 victory at Fulham.

But they then lost 1-0 at home to Manchester United, a match that Cahill missed completely, before Saturday's reverse at St James' Park, when Rodwell's late first-half header was not enough to cancel out an own goal by Johnny Heitinga and boyhood Liverpool fan Ryan Taylor's stunning volley.

Everton now have three successive games against fellow strugglers, with home games against Wolves and Stoke either side of a trip to Bolton.

"With the position we've put ourselves in with not too many points in the last six matches, there's going to be 'must win games'," said Jagielka.

"It's all about how we get the points now. It's not performances, it's all about results.

"We've had a couple of lucky away wins at Blackburn and Fulham and we're hoping we can do that in the next couple of games at Goodison."