Everton V Crystal Palace at Goodison Park : Match Preview

12 February 2014 04:14
Everton V Crystal Palace - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Martinez relaxed over Barry future

Everton manager Roberto Martinez trusts midfielder Gareth Barry to make the right call when his loan spell expires at the end of the season.

The 32-year-old's impressive form at Goodison Park, having been deemed surplus to requirements at Manchester City, has started to attract interest from other clubs with Arsenal the latest to be linked.

But while Martinez believes Barry is playing well enough for an England recall, he is confident there is no need to bring forward planned talks on the player's future ahead of a summer when he will become a free agent.

"It (speculation with other clubs) doesn't change anything. I trust him implicitly," said the Toffees boss.

"He has incredible human values. He's a person who needs to make footballing decisions.

"He's enjoyed an incredible career and is in a position that he can choose where his football happiness is going to be.

"From the beginning Gareth was a massive target of ours: he was available in the summer for other clubs and he decided to come to Everton.

"We did everything to bring him to the club and the relationship was to make sure he could go back to his very best, enjoy his football and have a big role at Everton.

"We were very clear with what we wanted from Gareth - to put him in an environment where he could be important, we could use his experience and he could enjoy his football. That was always the case for this season.

"Our agreement was in the summer we would sit down and it would be a question of what is best for Gareth."

Defeat at White Hart Lane on Sunday was only Everton's fourth in the league and on the three other occasions they have bounced back with a victory and Martinez expects a similar response at home to Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

"There is a real unity in the dressing room which is wrapped up with incredible character and great tenacity," he said.

"There is a difference between performing badly and needing another game to perform well - this is not the case as we performed really well at the weekend and we didn't get what we deserved.

"It is another test for us to react. The character and the personality of this dressing room has never been in doubt, it is one of the biggest strengths we have."

Martinez plans to give on-loan Monaco striker Lacina Traore, who arrived last month with a hamstring injury, his debut from the bench.

"Lacina is progressing really well and I didn't expect him to be available just yet but it is just giving him match-fitness," he added.

"I think he will be involved somehow but he is not ready for 90 minutes.

"He will have a massive role to play in our final games so it is giving him the opportunity to be on the pitch at the right time."

Meanwhile, Tony Pulis believes Crystal Palace's survival fight is about continuing momentum, keeping calm and focusing on themselves rather than being concerned by the other clubs fighting to stay in the Barclays Premier League.

Pulis takes the Eagles to Everton after accumulating 19 points from his first 13 Premier League games in charge to lift his side out of the drop zone and towards the safer end of a congested bottom half of the table.

With 13 fixtures remaining Palace require 14 points to reach the 40-point barrier so often associated with Premier League safety.

"We took over in a very difficult situation and the run that we've been on has been absolutely fantastic," said Pulis, who was appointed Ian Holloway's successor in November.

"But it's only taken us three points above the relegation zone. We have to maintain that.

"It's probably going to go right to the wire. If you get 40 points you've got a massive chance of staying up.

"There's 10, 12 clubs involved in it. It's just keeping your nerve.

"It's playing every game and if you win a game and pull away a little bit, don't get carried away; if you lose a couple of games and you get dragged in, don't get too down and too despondent.

"We've got to fight and scrap to get over that line - we'll do that.

"I'm not concerned about what other people are doing. I'm just concentrating on what I can affect - and that's the players I've got and the team I manage."

Pulis made some shrewd signings in the transfer market last month and saw two of them score in Saturday's defeat of West Brom, when Tom Ince and Joe Ledley netted on their debuts.

"The big worry is that they don't hit the ground running," added Pulis, who has no fresh injury concerns.

"In the position we haven't got a lot of time for them to settle in.

"It's nice that Joe and Incey scored and Scott (Dann) played in a winning team. We're pleased."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Pos Team Pld Pts
- Belgium 0 0
- Panama 0 0
- Tunisia 0 0
- England 0 0