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Crystal Palace V Everton at Selhurst Park : Match Preview

08 Nov 2013 14:31:28

Crystal Palace V Everton at Selhurst Park : Match Preview

Crystal Palace V Everton - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Martinez eyes options after Kone KO

Everton manager Roberto Martinez is confident in the strength and depth of his attacking options despite losing striker Arouna Kone to a long-term knee injury.


The Ivory Coast international's participation in the remainder of the season has been thrown into doubt by an operation on a cartilage problem.


While on-loan Chelsea forward Romelu Lukaku is fit and firing Martinez will not have a problem and despite back-up option Nikica Jelavic having scored just once in the league since December 9, the Toffees boss does not fear problems further down the line.


"It is a big blow (losing Kone). When he came on against Hull (his last appearances) I felt we had Arouna back," he said ahead of Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Crystal Palace.


"He then had a nasty challenge and it never settled down. It's going to be a lengthy spell.


"Darron Gibson has been in a similar situation (having had cruciate knee ligament surgery) and those two players are working hand in hand to get back.


"But we have many more options up front.


"Kevin Mirallas played more than a season at Olympiacos up front, Steven Naismith keeps playing at international up front - we have many options in that department."


Martinez denied Jelavic, whose last goal in any capacity for the club was in March in the 2-0 win at home to Manchester City, is suffering from a lack of confidence.


"Niki started the season working hard and scored a few important goals in pre-season and has been working really well," said the manager.


"When he came on on Sunday he looked sharp, lively and full of energy and I have no doubt he will have a massive role and is a very important player for us.


"He is such an experienced player he knows what he needs to do. As a striker you are always going to be in good moments and that happens after scoring goals and you feel you are really effective in the final third.


"He has never suffered a lack of confidence. He is experienced enough to understand we have Romelu in a very good moment of form.


"Niki is not suffering at all, he is fighting and waiting for his opportunity.


"It is good to have that healthy competition. You see how Romelu has been performing and that is because people have been setting the same high standards in training."


Midfielder Adlene Guedioura will be missing from Crystal Palace's squad after being ruled out for at least six weeks.


Midfielder Jonny Williams (ankle) is back in full training after recovering more quickly than expected from a knee injury, while defender Paddy McCarthy is edging closer to a first-team return.


Eagles midfielder Yannick Bolasie is living the dream at Selhurst Park and is desperate to prove himself as a Premier League player.


The 24-year-old's rise has been an unorthodox one, going from non-league Hillingdon Borough to the top flight via Floriana of Malta, Plymouth, Rushden and Diamonds, Barnet and Bristol City.


Last season was Bolasie's first with Palace and one in which he played a key role in their promotion through the Championship play-offs.


Now, the winger is targeting success in the Premier League after a frustrating start to the campaign personally and collectively.


Having returned from a hamstring injury, Bolasie has featured in the Eagles' past four matches and is now eyeing Palace's second Premier League win of the season against Everton.


"It will be a very tough game," Bolasie told the club's official website, www.cpfc.co.uk. "Roberto Martinez has got them playing very good football.


"They've always been a good team and they've always worked hard, but they've added that footballing style to their game now, which will make it tough for us.


"I always want to test myself against the best and right now Leighton is up there with Ashley Cole as one of the best full-backs in England.


"I'll be looking forward to that battle because I want to prove to people that I can cut it in the Premier League.


"I think I've adjusted to this division okay. I'm still excited - when I come out on the pitch I'm sometimes too excited maybe, but I'm calming down now and that will help my game hopefully.


"It's always a dream whenever I get a chance to enter the pitch in the Premier League.


"That's the dream for every footballer, but I also look at it as a great achievement and I want to be here to stay, so hopefully we can stay up."



PA

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