Martinez sweating over duo

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Published: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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Everton pair Steven Naismith and James McCarthy will undergo late fitness tests ahead of Wednesday’s Barclays Premier League clash with Hull at Goodison Park.

Both have been nursing hamstring problems and while Toffees boss Roberto Martinez rates forward Naismith as having an “outside chance” of featuring against the Tigers, he is expecting the game will come too soon for midfielder McCarthy.

Darron Gibson (knee) will not be involved and it remains to be seen whether Bryan Oviedo and Arouna Kone might after both played in an under-21s fixture on Monday as they continued to work towards match fitness.

Martinez has stressed he has had no contact from Arsenal regarding McCarthy and that he looks forward to seeing the midfielder stay with the Toffees “for a long, long time”.

Fresh stories linking McCarthy with a move away from Goodison Park have emerged over the last few days, this time with the Gunners said to be interested in signing him in January.

Additionally, it has been suggested Everton are trying to tie the 24-year-old Republic of Ireland international, who they recruited from Wigan for £13million on a “long-term deal” in September 2013, to a new contract in a bid to ward off the interest.

But when asked about such talk, Martinez emphasised Arsenal had not been in touch.

And the Spaniard added: “James is someone we rate very highly, otherwise you wouldn’t have seen the sort of investment we made on him.

“We are delighted with his form and I’ve always believed he is a typical Everton player, can grow and can get better.

“He has a long-term contract and it was a huge investment.

“I always enjoy seeing good reports on our players, and I see the potential interest or the good compliments that can be paid towards James from the outside.

“But he is a player we look forward to seeing in the Everton top for a long, long time.”

Martinez also played down talk of Christian Atsu, who is on loan with Everton from Chelsea for the season, departing in January and fellow winger Mohamed Salah arriving from the same club.

The manager said: “We are going to use January in the best possible way to try to help our squad.

“But loads of what is going to be done, if it’s anything, will be based on what happens over the seven games we have in December.”

Hull manager Steve Bruce intends to recall influential midfielder Tom Huddlestone.

Bruce admitted he had chosen to leave the former Spurs man out of Saturday’s team for a 3-0 defeat at Manchester United but, with the Tigers eager to avoid suffering a fifth straight loss, Huddlestone’s positive response has prompted his boss to restore him to the starting XI.

Bruce said: “Tom has set really, really high standards here, and I just find at the moment he’s lost a bit of form.

“We thought we’d take him out and give him a break from it, and hopefully it will do him the world of good because we all know what ability he’s got.

“He’s had a wonderful 18 months with us, it hasn’t gone so well over the last couple of weeks but I can say that about a few of them.

“Tom was maybe unfortunate to be left out but he took it exactly the way he would take it, he certainly didn’t go in a huff and he got on with it to put himself in contention again.”

Uruguayan attacking midfielder Gaston Ramirez serves the second part of a three-match ban while his compatriot, striker Abel Hernandez, will not be included having only just returned to England following the birth of his child.

Published: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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