English Premiership

Everton ready for Burnley test

2015-04-17 08:07
Romelu Lukaku (Supplied)
Romelu Lukaku (Supplied)

Liverpool - Everton manager Roberto Martinez has told his players to steel themselves for the challenge of facing a "fearless" Burnley at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Toffees have eased any lingering concerns about relegation in recent weeks, but Burnley are still fighting for their Premier League survival.

While other teams scrapping at the foot of the table have played tentatively, Martinez believes second-from-bottom Burnley's predicament makes them tougher opponents.

"I don't think there is a 'fear' of relegation for Burnley," Martinez said.

"And that is a big advantage against other teams who may not quite be in the relegation zone but have something to lose.

"The biggest threat that Burnley carry is they play with a real enthusiasm and enjoyment. They see an opportunity to achieve their aim of survival.

"In their last game against Arsenal they showed that. They only lost by one goal, they had a very good draw against Spurs and they beat Manchester City -- so the last few games at home they have been really strong.

"Away from home, I think they are capable of hurting any team. They were unfortunate against Southampton where they had three or four terrific chances."

The Spaniard added: "Looking at this game, it will be one which is open with both teams creating chances and it will be about who takes theirs early and gets ahead."

Everton are poised to include Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku in their squad after he missed the last two games with a hamstring problem.

"Rom has trained really well," Martinez said, adding he'd no plans to rest the 18-goal Lukaku between now and the end of the campaign.

"It's not in his nature," the manager said. "If I am completely honest, I think he has been suffering a lot in the last seven to 10 days that he has been away from the team.

"Someone like Rom needs to be on the football pitch. He is only 21 and I don't think there is any need for that a rest at all."

Everton will give a late fitness test to midfielder Leon Osman (groin) and winger Aiden McGeady (back) but have no other fresh injury worries.

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Monday, 18 December 2017
Everton v Swansea City, Goodison Park 22:00
Friday, 22 December 2017
Arsenal v Liverpool, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Saturday, 23 December 2017
Everton v Chelsea, Goodison Park 14:30
Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v AFC Bournemouth, Etihad Stadium 17:00
Swansea City v Crystal Palace, Liberty Stadium 17:00
West Ham United v Newcastle United, London Stadium 17:00
Southampton v Huddersfield Town, St. Mary's Stadium 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Watford, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur, Turf Moor 19:30
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