Everton V Hull at Goodison Park : Match Preview

18 October 2013 04:31
Everton V Hull - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Martinez: No time to relax

Everton manager Roberto Martinez insists his squad cannot afford to rest on their laurels as the Barclays Premier League season resumes.

Immediately prior to the international break the Toffees lost the top-flight's remaining unbeaten record with defeat at Manchester City.

With so many players away with their national teams Martinez has had little time to work on his preparations to bounce back from that ahead of the visit of Hull.

But he has stressed the one thing they cannot be is complacent against last season's Championship runners-up.

"We are pleased with the start but it is only a start," he said.

"We are in October and we will try to keep on growing, getting better and learning from experiences.

"We feel disappointed we dropped six important points in the opening three fixtures but now looking back what we need to do is carry on developing a way of playing which is going to be consistent and strong throughout he season.

"The squad is ready to do that and that is our next target; to concentrate on Saturday and make sure we carry on with the level of performance we have shown this season.

"In the league from winning to drawing there are more details and that is probably the difference that we have from earlier in the season.

"But we haven't done anything to sit back and relax.

"Now is when we really need to push ourselves and make sure we fulfil our potential, which I feel as a squad of players is huge."

Among European clubs only Bayern Munich had more players on international duty than Everton and, despite the disruption it causes, that is a positive in Martinez's eyes.

"I think it is a nice sign," he added.

"It shows the quality of the squad and if you add in the under-21s I think it shows we not only have experienced players but talent coming through and that is pleasing.

"It is not ideal to try to prepare games in the middle of that because you get an empty room at Finch Farm but it is a sign of the quality we have in the squad."

Darron Gibson has been ruled out for several months after rupturing a cruciate knee ligament on international duty anf fellow midfielder Steven Pienaar, who has not played since August 31 because of a hamstring injury, is still not ready to return.

Meanwhile, summer signing Antolin Alcaraz's long-awaited debut will not come until next month at the earliest.

Hull manager Steve Bruce believes Jose Mourinho might have sent Romelu Lukaku to Everton in a bid to hurt Chelsea's title rivals.

Bruce is preparing his side to face Lukaku for the second time this season - the Belgium striker having been a substitute for the Blues in the first game of the season at Stamford Bridge.

It was one of only three appearances he made before being sent on a season-long loan at Goodison Park, a relationship that has already yielded four goals in three matches.

Many fans are perplexed at the decision given Chelsea's struggle to find a consistent centre forward, but Bruce insists Mourinho might have spotted a way to improve his side's title prospects in a less conventional way.

"He's a hell of a loan signing on deadline day, someone like Lukaku. I saw him playing for Belgium in midweek and he's going to be one hell of a player," said Bruce.

"Maybe the reason why he's gone there is Jose has thought 'maybe Everton can go and get as few points off the big boys with him in their team'.

"That would be pretty shrewd really and I think they can.

"Roberto Martinez inherited a very good side and with the addition of Lukaku and James McCarthy they've really added to a squad which has grown well over the last few years."

Hull's top-scorer Robbie Brady is set for a swift return to the squad having missed only one match since undergoing a hernia operation.

Brady has recovered well over the international break and Bruce is hopeful he can play some part on Saturday.

Ahmed Elmohamady, Gedo and Maynor Figueroa all had long journeys back from international duty and will be assessed for match fitness, while Robert Koren (fractured foot) and James Chester (hamstring) are still out.

Source: PA