English Premiership

Martinez to make late call on Stones

2016-02-12 10:15
John Stones (Getty Images)

Centre back John Stones could return to the Everton side to face West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, but manager Roberto Martinez might be tempted to hold him back after his team kept back-to-back Premier League clean sheets for the first time this season without him.

Phil Jagielka and Ramiro Funes Mori provided a formidable partnership in the 3-0 league wins over Stoke City and Newcastle United and Martinez may opt to retain them at Goodison Park on Saturday even if Stones recovers from a hamstring strain.

Having fought off big-money bids for the stylish Stones last year, Martinez also quelled speculation that Jagielka could leave the club by the end of the month.

The England centre back is reportedly a target for the cash-rich Chinese Super League where the transfer window closes on February26, but Martinez said the 33-year-old was going nowhere.

"We're not in a situation to lose players. Jagielka is our club captain and has been great in the last two games," the Spaniard told reporters on Thursday.

Martinez also refused to rule out a top-four finish for Everton despite the club lying 12 points adrift of the Champions League and said he understood Romelu Lukaku's frustration with their league position.

The Belgian striker had said on Wednesday that the team needed to show more "nastiness" to swing results in their favour, but Martinez insisted that progress was being made despite the club sitting in eighth place in the table.

"We don't try to hide the fact we want to reach the top four. That won't happen overnight but we are giving big roles to young players," Martinez added.

"Romelu accepts that challenge and that we need to become better. This is probably the most open league that I've been involved in over seven seasons.

"What's important is the type of momentum that we've got now. The answer is very much how strong we can be in the final third of the season."

Martinez said new £13.5m signing Oumar Niasse could make his debut, probably off the bench.

West Brom, who have slipped to 14th place in the table, travel to Everton hoping to register a first league win since January 2.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Wednesday, 13 December 2017
Swansea City v Manchester City, Liberty Stadium 21:45
Newcastle United v Everton, St. James' Park 21:45
Southampton v Leicester City, St. Mary's Stadium 21:45
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion, Anfield 22:00
West Ham United v Arsenal, London Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v AFC Bournemouth, Old Trafford 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 17 December 2017
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United, The Hawthorns 16:15
AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool, Vitality Stadium 18:30
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.