Former Republic of Ireland midfielder Kevin Sheedy has been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

The 52-year-old Everton academy coach, who as a player featured heavily in the club's success of the mid-1980s, will undergo surgery later this week and is expected to be absent from Finch Farm for some time.

"It's not ideal but I have to remain positive," said Sheedy. "After a period of rehabilitation I will return to my coaching role at Everton."

Sheedy was keen to highlight the importance of people being aware of getting an early diagnosis if they experienced any problems.

"There is a history in the family," he told evertonfc.com. "It's so important that people don't ignore the early signs and symptoms and don't be afraid to consult a GP."

Sheedy made 369 appearances for Everton, scoring 97 goals. He scored nine goals in 46 caps for Ireland.