Roberto Martinez to make late decision on John Stones and Seamus Coleman

Published: Friday 2nd October 2015 by The News Editor

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Everton boss Roberto Martinez will make a late decision on whether key defenders John Stones and Seamus Coleman are fit enough to feature in Sunday’s Merseyside derby.

Stones sat out Monday’s Barclays Premier League win at West Brom due to a knee problem, while Coleman has missed three games because of a hamstring complaint.

Asked ahead of this weekend’s top-flight clash with Liverpool at Goodison Park if the pair would be able to play in it, Martinez said on Friday: “It is too early to tell.

“In the next two sessions we will get a clear idea.

“They have progressed well since the West Brom game and we will make a decision as late as we can – we are going to leave it probably until the day of the game.”

Toffees midfielder Muhamed Besic, who has also been out for three games nursing a hamstring injury, is not expected to be available, while forward Kevin Mirallas is still suspended.

Martinez said of Besic: “He is going to be with John and Seamus, working at a separate pace, for the next two sessions.

“But I would say maybe it is too early for him to be involved in the game at the weekend.”

Everton have not beaten Liverpool for five years but Martinez’s men go into this game in encouraging form, having taken eight points from their last four matches, and they are currently fifth in the table.

That is four places higher than the Reds, whose victory over Aston Villa last time out was their first victory in five league fixtures.

However, Martinez believes that while form will count for little on Sunday, if anyone should be regarded more as favourites for the contest it is Liverpool, given the amount of money they have spent in recent years.

“I don’t think being favourites or not matters a lot going into a derby,” Martinez said.

“If you take the way we have started, clearly we are showing a little bit of form and that could see us as favourites.

“But if you look at it in terms of the amount of money Liverpool spent over the last three seasons, clearly they need to be the favourites and the ones carrying expectations.”

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has been under considerable scrutiny of late, something Martinez says simply comes with the territory of being a manager at their level.

“I think the pressure is the nature of the game,” he said.

“It is something that is normal and goes with not winning games. If you win a game, you are just looking forward to the next one, if you don’t, you are under pressure. That is normal and we all accept that.”

Martinez, who has been in charge at Everton for the last two seasons, is keen to get his first Merseyside derby win on the board.

“I know how important it is to get a victory in the derby,” he said.

“You only need to speak with our fans – building up to the game, it has an extra significant meaning.

“Getting three points would allow us to make a really promising start a really exciting start, and the derby is a fixture in which we want to give our fans a real sense of satisfaction.”

Published: Friday 2nd October 2015 by The News Editor

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