Everton v QPR
Everton will have the same squad that drew at Stoke on New Year’s Day at their disposal when their FA Cup campaign commences on Saturday.
Sylvain Distin, Phil Jagielka and Gerard Deulofeu (all hamstring) remain sidelined, with John Stones and Antolin Alcaraz likely to continue their newfound partnership at the heart of defence.
With the temptation to rest some of his squad amid a heavy fixture pile-up, Roberto Martinez says he will assess the likes of Tony Hibbert to determine his final selection.
QPR are also emerging from a busy festive period and boss Harry Redknapp says he will rotate to freshen things up.
On-loan midfielder Tom Carroll is unavailable for selection, although his parent club Tottenham have allowed the R’s permission for fellow loanee left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto to feature.
QPR celebrated New Year’s Day by ending a three-game winless run and reviving their Championship title charge.
The Londoners recorded a 2-1 home win against Doncaster Rovers to respond to defeats to Leicester City and Nottingham Forest as well as a draw at Watford – all without finding the net.
It is their away form that is keeping QPR below the Foxes and Burnley, who currently occupy the automatic promotion spots. Four wins from 12 trips on the road shows their patchy record when not at Loftus Road and Everton will be looking to make home advantage count.
Top scorer Charlie Austin only joined this summer but has already hit 12 goals for his new side. He returned to the team to net the winner against Doncaster in midweek.
The Blues, meanwhile, avoided a third league defeat of the season through Leighton Baines’ injury-time equaliser from the spot at Stoke on New Year’s Day.
Sitting fifth in the Premier League as attention turns to the FA Cup, the Blues will be hoping to battle on both fronts in the second half of the season.
The Toffees all but sealed QPR’s relegation last term with a 2-0 victory at Goodison in April 2013. The visitors appeared devoid of fight and ideas and Darron Gibson’s 39th-minute deflected strike was no less than the Blues deserved at the break. Victor Anichebe then doubled the advantage 10 minutes into the second half when he flicked home Sylvain Distin’s goalbound header.
Tickets for the third round tie against QPR are still available. Click here to buy online and print at home. Kick off is at 3pm.