Could Everton's Yannick Bolasie add style to Sam Allardyce's steel?

Pete Byrne / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Everton's revival under Sam Allardyce continued on Wednesday with a workmanlike, and at times fortunate, 1-0 victory over Newcastle United that had all the hallmarks of 'Big Sam's' teams.

The Merseysiders were organised in defence, worked hard for each other, were cynical in their timewasting at times, and took one of the few chances they created as a rejuvenated Wayne Rooney took his Premier League tally for the season to nine goals.

Ten points from the last 12 available, and just a single goal conceded, is chalk and cheese from earlier in the campaign when Everton couldn't stop the bleeding in terms of goals conceded and looked genuine relegation candidates.

They can probably put those thoughts to the back of their minds now, and the next step for Allardyce is to inject some flair into his dogged team.

For now, relieved Everton fans are happy to go with his military-style, old-fashioned football, but there will come a time, probably quite soon, when that will change.

It is not something that comes naturally to him, but make no mistake, this is the biggest club job of Big Sam's career, and if he is to be a success at Goodison Park and gain the respect of the Everton faithful he so clearly craves, he needs to at some point entertain as well as win.

In fairness, he is hamstrung at present by a lengthy injury list that includes attacking full-back Seamus Coleman, playmaker Ross Barkley and winger Yannick Bolasie.

Of the three, Democratic Republic of Congo international Bolasie is closest to a comeback, having played for the Under-23s on Monday.

It was the first action for the 28-year-old in over a year following a crippling knee injury that proved a blow for both club and country.

A £28-million arrival from Crystal Palace ahead of last season, Bolasie can be a mixed bag, but he will offer Allardyce something he does not otherwise have in his squad - lightning pace and the ability to go one-on-one with defenders.

Part of Everton's problems in early season, and it remains an issue still, is that they are too laboured when in possession. It is all too slow and allows the opposition to easily get back into shape defensively.

They no longer have the outlet of Romelu Lukaku to run at defences and cause panic.

Bolasie is, of course, a completely different player to Lukaku, but what he can be is a player to get in behind opposition defences, and at the very least provide width and get in crosses for the ever-improving Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

It will, of course, take some months for Bolasie to get back to his best form, and he faces not just a physical but also a mental challenge after so long out.

However, he could play some part in what is a hectic Christmas period for the club in which Allardyce will surely need to rotate his players.

"Playing again was overwhelming," Bolasie told evertonfc.com after the Under-23 game against Leicester City. "When I got on I felt good. I knew about two weeks ago I was going to play in this game so it's good.

"There wasn't any nerves! Now that I've played the 30 minutes there isn't any. Maybe before there was some because it's been a long time," he added. "Training is training - it's totally different in the matches when it matters so, yes, I'm happy."

Bolasie says that although he is eager for a first team return, he is ready to be patient and not rush back into action.

"I want to be with the [first team] boys. Right now the team is doing really well so you're going to have to try to fight your way in but there's no rush for myself.

"I know what my role is because a year out in football means it will be a month or two before I'm really back at it but the main thing is that I feel okay.

"Just the smell of grass again in the game was great."

The DR Congo national side will also be relieved to have him back as they seek to qualify for the 2019 African Nations Cup finals in Cameroon.

They are in the same qualification group as Zimbabwe, Congo-Brazzaville and Liberia, but are not in action again until an away trip to the last of these three in September 2018, by which time Bolasie could be back to his best form.